In this issue:
Program Update - January 4, 2008
2007 Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives
FHWA Announced the 2007 Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives on December 7, 2007. The Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives (EHEI) program is a new program designed to support and measure FHWA's environmental stewardship responsibilities, and is included as a national strategy in FHWA's 2007 Strategic Plan. The EHEI program promotes environmental stewardship by giving recognition to transportation projects and activities that are particularly effective and innovative in how they adapt and enhance the human environment. It is a new companion program to the successful, ongoing Exemplary Ecosystem Initiative program. See www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/ehei/ for more information.
We received 38 applications from across the country. These applications included many excellent examples of environmental stewardship, making our selection very difficult. We ultimately selected eight particularly distinguished projects from the States of Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, New York, Oregon, and South Carolina. Several of these were trail-related or connected trails, and several used TE funds.
National Scenic Byways Program Announcements
The December 2007 issue of the America's Byways Bulletin has a lot of information that RTP and TE interests will find useful. See www.bywaysonline.org/program/bulletin/200712/. We would like to highlight two items:
FY 2007 National Scenic Byways Program Grants Announced!
Commonly Made Mistakes When Applying for National Scenic Byways Program Grants
See previous issues of the America's Byways Bulletin at www.bywaysonline.org/program/bulletin/, where you can sign up to receive it directly.
Transportation Enhancement Activities
The Recreational Trails Program Apportionments, Rescissions, and Obligations webpage was updated on December 6th. See www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/funding/. The FY 2008 RTP Apportionments are posted at www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4510655.htm.
The Bicycle and Pedestrian obligations are posted at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/funding/bipedfund.cfm. The FY 2007 obligations rose to $564 million, including Safe Routes to School Program and Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program funds (including many SRTS and NMT projects that had not been coded as bicycle and pedestrian projects, but should have been). The share of bicycle and pedestrian projects funded through the TE Activities has dropped from about three-fourths to about one-half. There are likely three major reasons: (1) many bicycle and pedestrian projects are using regular highway program funding, (2) many bicycle and pedestrian projects are getting SRTS/NMT funds, (3) many earmarked projects received funds in FY 2007.
2008 Annual Corps Forum
The Corps Network (formerly known as the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps) will hold its 2008 Annual Corps Forum on February 10-13, 2008. See www.corpsnetwork.org/newsForum.asp for more information. The forum attracts Corps Leaders from across the nation to celebrate accomplishments, share experiences, and learn from experts. There are Plenaries and Workshops covering:
The USDOT/FHWA encourages the States to enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with qualified youth service and conservation corps to perform appropriate Transportation Enhancement Activities and Recreational Trails Program projects. See www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/transportation_enhancements/guidance/#youth and www.enhancements.org/download/connections/Vol9no2.pdf for TE; see www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/guidance/rtp9908_pt2.cfm#rtp18 for the RTP.
National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse Connections Newsletter
Connections is the quarterly newsletter of the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse (NTEC). It features outstanding Transportation Enhancements (TE) projects; updates from Capitol Hill; new resources related to the TE program; and technical information to help TE project sponsors sucesfully complete their projects. See www.enhancements.org/publications.asp and scroll down to Connections (PDF).
FHWA FY 2008 Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) Plan
FHWA's FY 2008 Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) Plan is now on the STEP website: www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/. The STEP was established in Section 5207 of SAFETEA-LU. The general objective of the STEP is to improve understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation, planning, and the environment.
STEP research is categorized into four research focus areas: Environment, Planning, Tools to Support Planning and Environment Emphasis Areas, and Program Management and Outreach. There are also 17 STEP research emphasis areas, each with a contact person who oversees the research that is planned or underway for that area.
Because STEP projects are at various stages of implementation (including some multi-year efforts), the STEP emphasis area contacts are the best resource for information regarding the status of research efforts within a specific emphasis area. Emphasis area contact information is also posted on the STEP website.