FHWA Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP)
The purpose of this email is to request your comments on the FHWA Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP), especially as it relates to bicycle, pedestrian, and health related planning and environment research issues. The deadline for comments is September 15, 2006. We are reaching out to our external partners at the national, State, and local levels who have an interest in bicycle, pedestrian, and health related environmental research. The future of our environmental research program depends on the input we receive from this effort.
We are asking our stakeholders to help us:
FHWA is not seeking specific detailed research proposals and discourages researchers from submitting proposals of that nature.
STEP is the primary source of SAFETEA-LU funds available for FHWA research on planning and environmental issues including Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Health related projects. As you may know, there are separate funding sources for safety research being conducted by FHWA's Research office and for safety program efforts conducted by FHWA's Safety office.
Section 5207 of SAFETEA-LU established the STEP. The goal of STEP is to improve understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation, planning, and the environment.
Please refer to our website: www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/ for a description of the Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Health Emphasis area. On that webpage you can find the link to the website by which you can provide your input.
STEP emphasis areas are grouped into four major categories:
Please refer to www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/strategy.cfm#five (old link) for a description of all of the emphasis areas and the proposed amount of STEP FY 07 funding for each emphasis area. We welcome your thoughts on any and all emphasis areas.
The STEP home page is www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/index.cfm.
National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse Seeks Submittals for TE Guide
The National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse (NTEC) is seeking submissions of successful Transportation Enhancements (TE) projects to be featured in a newly updated version of Enhancing America's Communities: A Guide to Transportation Enhancements. NTEC operates under a cooperative agreement between the FHWA and the Rails to Trails Conservancy.
This guide showcases projects that received TE funding, that document economic and community benefits, and that have a clear relationship with surface transportation. It is the primary publication NTEC uses to describe the TE program and to show how TE is used across the nation.
Who Receives the Guide? To date, NTEC has provided more than 7500 copies of the guide to individuals, nonprofit groups, and municipalities free of charge. We constantly look to the examples in the guide to demonstrate best practices for DOTs and communities.
Why is the Guide Important? The guide introduces the 12 categories eligible for TE funding. For each funding category, it shows excellent finished projects and the inventiveness that organizations have utilized to complete projects. Stories of successful projects bring recognition for the quality of the project and the process of community meetings, innovative partnerships, and the compromises that made it happen. For those embarking on the TE application process, the success stories help them understand the countless solutions that continue to make the TE program so popular. For more information on TE, see www.enhancements.org.
If you know of a project that should be included in this guide, please see www.enhancements.org/enhancing_3.asp, or call 1-888-388-6832. Please submit by September 1, 2006.
Updated Transportation Enhancements Apportionments for FY 2004, 2005, and 2006
We updated the TE Apportionments table at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/transportation_enhancements/funding/apportionments_obligations/.
On April 12, 2006, FHWA's Office of the Chief Financial Officer released revised Supplementary Tables for FY 2004, 2005, and 2006, including Tables that show Transportation Enhancement apportionments. [Although dated April 12, 2006, the web version for the FY 2006 Notice was corrected this past week.] Here are the Notices:
N 4510.603, Revised Supplementary Tables - Apportionments Authorized for Fiscal Year (FY) 2004:
TE Table: www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4510603a10b.htm
N 4510.563, Supplementary Tables - Apportionments Authorized for Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 Pursuant to the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) [see May 24 email]: www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4510563.htm.
TE Table: www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4510563a11b.htm
N 4510.604, Supplementary Tables - Apportionments Authorized for Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 Pursuant to the Safe, Accountable Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU): www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4510604.htm.
TE Table: www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4510604a10b.htm
In all States, except Minnesota, the FY 2006 TE apportionments are identical to FY 2005 because of SAFETEA-LU §1113(c), which amended 23 U.S.C. 133(d)(2) to read: "For transportation enhancement activities.--In a fiscal year, the greater of 10 percent of the funds apportioned to a State under section 104(b)(3) for such fiscal year, or the amount set aside under this paragraph with respect to the State for fiscal year 2005, shall only be available for transportation enhancement activities."
BACKGROUND: TE apportionments are based on:
For FY 1992-2005, the STP had two set-asides: 10% Safety and 10% TE. SAFETEA-LU established the new Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), effective FY 2006, and eliminated the 10% STP set-aside for Safety. The STP funds were lowered in FY 2006-2009 to accommodate the new HSIP. However, that meant a smaller source for the 10% for TE. Therefore, SAFETEA-LU §1113(c) established a funding floor for TE.
Minnesota's FY 2006 TE apportionment is slightly higher in FY 2006 because an increase in its Equity Bonus funds apportioned as STP funds offset the decrease of its STP funds.
2007 FHWA Environmental Excellence Awards
The 2007 FHWA Environmental Excellence Awards program is accepting entry forms through August 15. These awards were established by FHWA to recognize our outstanding processes, projects, and people who go beyond what is required with traditional transportation projects and who promote environmental stewardship along with partnerships to achieve environmentally sound transportation solutions. The application forms are at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/environmental_excellence_awards/.
Nominations are being accepted in the following areas:
Air Quality Improvement
Cultural and Historical Resources
Ecosystems, Habitat, and Wildlife
Recycling and Reuse
Roadside Resource Management and Maintenance
Wetlands, Watersheds, and Water Quality
Please pass along this information to your respective States and others who have used Federal Highway Administration funding sources to make an outstanding contribution to transportation and the environment. If you need more information, please contact Patricia Cazenas at 202-366-4085 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Award plaques will be presented to the winners at the International Conference on Ecology and Transportation (ICOET) in Little Rock, Arkansas, May 20-25, 2007.
International Association of Snowmobile Administrators Website: www.snowiasa.org
The International Association of Snowmobile Administrators opened its website in June 2006: www.snowiasa.org. It has a lot of useful information about snowmobiling and snowmobile safety, and snowmobiling guidelines and resources. For example:
Special thanks to Keri Wanner of Snowmobile North Dakota for a job well done getting this site developed.
Public Comment on Forest Service Trail Classification System and Design Parameters
The Forest Service is publishing for public notice and comment for 60 days proposed revisions to the agency's national trail classification system, including the Trail Class Matrix and Design Parameters, and proposed implementing directives in the Forest Service Manual and Forest Service Handbook. Attached is the Federal Register Notice available for public comment. See www.fs.fed.us/recreation/, and scroll down below the pretty pictures.
This is a 32 page Federal Register Notice, so they spend several pages talking about what they are going to propose. The actual text begins on page 8. The Trail Design Parameters begin on page 17. If you have US Forest Service lands in your State, these parameters will affect your State.
Trail Equipment Website LIVE!
The Trail Equipment website is LIVE! thanks to a partnership between FHWA (especially Jonathan LeClere, contractor to FHWA from Data Solutions & Technology Inc.) and the USDA Forest Service Missoula Technology and Development Center (especially Keith Windell). The Mechanized Trailbuilding Equipment webpage is www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/equipment_database/.
This website is a result of the partnership between FHWA's Recreational Trails Program and the USDA Forest Service Technology and Development Program. Other products are available through FHWA's Trails Publications webpage: www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/publications/.
ACTION: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM); Request for Comments. Parks, Recreation Areas, Wildlife and Waterfowl Refuges, and Historic Sites [Section 4(f)]
The Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration propose to amend regulations implementing Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act as required under Section 6009 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The proposal also would reorganize and recodify the Section 4(f) provisions in the Code of Federal Regulations. This will implement FHWA's Guidance for Determining De Minimis Impacts to Section 4(f) Resources (see www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/guidance/superseded/guidedeminimis.cfm).
Information and ACTION: Resources you can use
ACTION: State Trail Advisory Committee Requirement: Response Due September 15
[FHWA offices should have received this on July 12, and should have forwarded it to the State RTP contacts.]
From: Marchese, April Director, Office of Natural and Human Environment (HEPN-1)
Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2006 5:21 PM
Subject: ACTION: Recreational Trails Program Compliance for FY 2007
Apportionments, Reply Requested by September 15, 2006
To the attention of FHWA Division Office Recreational Trails Program Contacts:
The purpose of this email is to request documentation that the State recreational trail advisory committee has met or will have met at least once in FY 2006. This information is needed to assure the States are eligible to receive FY 2007 apportionments under the Recreational Trails Program. The attached memorandum describes in more detail the specific information we need and provides background on this request. The attachments to the memorandum include a list of 25 [as of July 12; 29 as of July 20] Division Offices that have provided sufficient documentation (thanks!), and a summary of the requirements for the advisory committee found in 23 U.S.C. 206(c). Documentation of the meeting may include:
Please provide this information to Christopher Douwes at email@example.com by September 15. Christopher's phone number is (202) 366-5013, should you have question about this request or the requirement. I also am copying the Division Office RTP contacts on this email.
State Trail Administrators Meeting: October 18-19
We are preparing for the State Trail Administrators Meeting on October 18-19, 2006, immediately prior to the National Trails Symposium. See www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/events/stam_2006/.
National Trails Symposium: October 19-22
Online Registration is open for the 18th National Trails Symposium in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois, October 19-22, 2006. The Symposium will be at the RiverCenter Convention Center in Davenport, Iowa. The Symposium has valuable workshops, field trips, great recreational opportunities, exhibits, and networking for the trails community. Early registration fees are in effect through August 31, 2006. For Symposium details, including program and workshop information, and travel and accommodation options, see www.americantrails.org/quad/index.html.
News Articles and Training
American Trails is putting together the Summer 2006 issue of the American Trails Magazine. We're interested in any news items or articles from State trail programs. Please email materials to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anytime you have training scheduled please send details to email@example.com. This information will get posted on the National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP) online calendar at www.AmericanTrails.org. The NTTP would also like to know more about training providers for the state-by-state index at: www.americantrails.org/nttp/states/index.html. There are a number of states for which we have not been able to find any training providers.
RTP Achievement Awards
The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) announced the 2006 RTP Annual Achievement Awards on June 12, 2006. American Trails posted them at www.americantrails.org/awards/CRT06awards/CRT06awards.html. American Trails has web pages for each of the 2006 Award winning projects with photos and descriptions. It also links to the CRT website and the RTP site. American Trails would like to thank everyone who works to make the awards program possible. It's a great way to showcase some interesting projects. American Trails has six years of CRT awards on its website, with individual project pages for the last three years.
Land Preservation for National Scenic and Historic Trails Workshop: October 11-12
The Partnership for the National Trails System will hold a Workshop on Land Preservation for National Scenic and Historic Trails, on October 11 and 12, 2006, at the Nashville Public Library Conference Center in Nashville TN. This workshop is immediately prior to the National Land Conservation Conference Rally 2006 sponsored by the Land Trust Alliance from October 13-15. The workshop will run two full days beginning Wednesday October 11th at 9:00 AM and ending at 5:00 PM on Thursday the 12th.
FHWA Planning and Environment Guidance, and Safe Routes to School Task Force
FHWA offices should have received these on the dates indicated.
FHWA Vegetation Management Guidance (June 2)
FHWA released Guidance on 23 U.S.C. §329 on the Control of Noxious Weeds and Aquatic Noxious Weeds and Establishment of Native Species on May 16, 2006. This guidance discusses the new eligibility of Federal-aid funds for the control of noxious weeds and aquatic noxious weeds and establishment of native species provisions under this section.
FHWA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Planning and Programming (June 9)
FHWA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on statewide and metropolitan transportation planning and programming and congestion management processes/systems in the June 9, 2006, Federal Register. Here are links to the TEXT and PDF versions of the NPRM:
This joint NPRM reflects the recent enactment of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (Public Law 109-59, August 10, 2005), as well as incorporates changes initiated in its predecessor legislation, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Public Law 105-178, June 9, 1998).
We encourage you to share this announcement with your State DOT, MPO, and other transportation planning partners. Please encourage interested partners and stakeholders to carefully review the NPRM and consider providing comments to the official docket.
Interested parties are invited to send comments regarding all facets of this proposed NPRM. Comments must be received on or before September 7, 2006.
For additional information on the joint planning NPRM process, please feel free to contact Larry Anderson, Planning Oversight and Stewardship Team Leader (larry.Anderson@dot.gov), and/or Rob Ritter (firstname.lastname@example.org), Planning Capacity Building Team Leader.
Interstate Exemptions (June 19)
The FHWA is seeking public input on preliminary list of elements to be excluded from exemptions of the Interstate Highway System from consideration as historic property under the provisions of section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966. This list is available at http://www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/histpres/index.asp. See also:
FHWA Draft Guidance on Environmental Review Process (June 29)
FHWA released a Notice of Availability of Proposed Guidance on Section 6002 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) and Request for Comments http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2006-06-29/html/E6-10217.htm (or PDF http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2006-06-29/pdf/E6-10217.pdf, 57KB) in the June 29, 2006, Federal Register, and also issued SAFETEA-LU Environmental Review Process Proposed Guidance. This applies to FHWA-funded highway projects and FTA-funded transit projects. This is unlikely to affect most RTP or TE projects, but you should be aware of it.
Safe Routes to School Task Force (July 11)
The Federal Highway Administration announced a call for nominations, applications, and comments for the National Safe Routes to School Task Force. See the Federal Register announcement link below. If you are interested in submitting information, please do so thru the on-line system as described in the announcement. Deadline: August 10, 2006. See: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2006-07-11/html/E6-10754.htm