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Transportation Enhancement Activities Ideas to Consider for Authorization

(Draft September 2009)

The following ideas are presented for consideration in discussions about surface transportation authorization legislation.

  1. Revise TE Category #11 to read as follows:
    1. Environmental mitigation to address water quality degradation due to highway runoff; and
    2. Environmental mitigation to reduce transportation-related wildlife mortality and to restore and maintain connectivity among terrestrial and aquatic habitats.

    This amendment would improve environmental mitigation and help restore and maintain habitat connectivity across transportation facilities that are barriers for both land and aquatic species. The primary example is where a highway or railroad culvert or bridge originally allowed aquatic species to get through, but after years of erosion or other streambed changes caused by the transportation facility (highway or rail), aquatic species passage is no longer possible. This amendment is intended to authorize using TE funds to modify surface transportation facilities to allow passages for fish and other aquatic species, as well as for terrestrial species.

  2. Provide for FHWA administrative costs to assist with technical assistance for the States and improve program effectiveness, based on the Recreational Trails Program Federal Administrative Costs and House T & I Committee proposals. Part would support the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse.

  3. Provide for State administrative costs to assist with technical assistance and improve program effectiveness. Model the legislation from the Recreational Trails Program State Administrative Costs.

  4. Simplify the Federal share, keeping at least the same flexibility, but allow flexibility available to the rest of the Federal-aid highway program. In particular: remove the requirement for a programmatic Federal share; which complicates projects for Federal agencies.

  5. Clarify right-of-way requirements, especially for when a project sponsor no longer can continue the project. This would affect the entire Federal-aid highway program (including the RTP and TE).

  6. Enhance the ability for States to enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with youth service or conservation corps to perform TE (and other Federal-aid) projects, to help State and local transportation and recreation agencies with workforce development and training. Note: See Conservation Corps and Transportation: Making the Connection.
    • Codify the Youth Corps encouragement language from TEA-21 §1108(g) into 23 U.S.C. 133 (or, combined with TEA-21 §1112(e) and SAFETEA-LU 1109(f), elsewhere in Title 23).
    • A higher Federal share for projects using youth corps.
    • Allow States to count agreements with youth service and conservation corps toward their Disadvantaged Business Enterprises goals.
    • Specifically incorporate youth corps into 23 U.S.C. 113(c).
  1. Facilitate using volunteers on TE projects with incentives or exceptions.

  2. Permit TE projects to incorporate workforce development, training, and education (as defined in 23 U.S.C. 504(e)) within the TE projects.

Updated: 05/24/2012
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