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Is PEL Legally Required?

Note: This information was archived in April 2009. For the current information, see http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/integ/related.asp.

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Current federal transportation law supports PEL. U.S. Code Title 23, as amended by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the federal surface transportation act for years 2005-2009, requires many activities previously considered "good practice"-those that strengthen consideration of environmental issues and impacts within the transportation planning process and encourage the use of planning products during NEPA.

SAFETEA-LU also ventures into new areas such as asking for the use of visualization techniques and a new level of dialogue and interaction with the public (participation plans for stakeholder involvement) in discovering, describing, and analyzing strategies.

Environmental Considerations In Planning

Specifically, SAFETEA-LU Sections 3005, 3006, and 6001 require that:

Participation plans for stakeholder involvement and use of visualization techniques to convey proposed strategies are also discussed. The requirements are formalized in the Statewide Transportation Planning; Metropolitan Transportation Planning; Final Rule (23 CFR 450), which details how results or decisions of transportation planning studies may be used as part of the overall project development process consistent with NEPA.

Appendix A to Part 450-Linking the Transportation Planning and NEPA Processes (23 USC 139) describes how information, analysis, and products from transportation planning can be incorporated into and relied upon in NEPA documents under existing laws. In essence, Title 23, as amended by SAFETEA-LU Section 6001, establishes the legal requirement for Integrated Planning and provides the legal foundation for Linking Planning and NEPA.

Efficient Environment Review For Project Decision Making

The Final Guidance on Section 6002 (23 USC 139) establishes a new environmental review process for highways, transit, and multi-modal projects that:

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Updated: 12/03/2012
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