Stewardship and Oversight Session Selected Legal References Key to Planned Discussions
Selected legislative and regulatory references include:
49 USC Reference:
- Section 101
- The national objectives of general welfare, economic growth and stability, and security of the United States require the development of transportation policies and programs that contribute to providing fast, safe, efficient, and convenient transportation at the lowest cost consistent with those and other national objectives, including the efficient use and conservation of the resources of the United States.
- A Department of Transportation is necessary in the public interest and to -
- ensure the coordinated and effective administration of the transportation programs of the United States Government;
- make easier the development and improvement of coordinated transportation service to be provides by private enterprise to the greatest extent feasible;
- encourage cooperation of Federal, State, and local governments, carriers, labor, and other interested persons to achieve transportation objectives;
- stimulate technological advances in transportation, through research and development or otherwise;
- provide general leadership in identifying and solving transportation problems; and,
- develop and recommend to the President and Congress transportation policies and programs to achieve transportation objectives considering the needs of the public, users, carriers, industry, labor, and national defense.
23 USC References:
Section 106 (c) - "ASSUMPTION BY STATES OF RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SECRETARY" -
- NON_INTERSTATE NHS PROJECTS - For projects under this title that are on the National Highway System but not on the Interstate System, the State may assume the responsibilities of the Secretary under this title for design, plans, specifications, estimates, contract awards, and inspections of projects unless the State or the Secretary determines that such assumption is not appropriate.
- NON_NHS PROJECTS - For projects under this title that are not on the National Highway System, the State shall assume the responsibilities of the Secretary under this title for design, plans, specifications, estimates, contract awards, and inspections of projects unless the State determines that such assumption is not appropriate.
- AGREEMENT - The Secretary and the State shall enter into an agreement relating to the extend to which the State assumes the responsibilities of the Secretary under this subsection.
- LIMITATION ON AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY - The Secretary may not assume any greater responsibility than the Secretary is permitted under this title on September 30, 1997, except upon agreement by the Secretary and the State.
Section 145. Federal-State relationship
PROTECTION OF STATE SOVEREIGNTY. - The authorization of the appropriation of Federal funds or their availability for expenditure under this chapter shall in no way infringe on the sovereign rights of the States to determine which projects shall be federally financed. The provisions of this chapter provide for a federally assisted State program.
Section 302 (a) - "Any State desiring to avail itself of the provisions of this title shall have a State transportation department which shall have adequate powers, and be suitably equipped and organized to discharge to the satisfaction of the Secretary the duties required by this Title. In meeting the provision of this subsection, a State may engage to the extent necessary or desirable, the services of private engineering firms."
Section 315 - "Except as provided in sections 204(d), 205(a), 206(b), 207(b), and 208(c) of this title, the Secretary is authorized to prescribe and promulgate all needful rules and regulations for the carrying out the provisions of this title. The Secretary may make such recommendations to the Congress and State transportation departments as he deems necessary for preserving and protecting the highways and insuring the safety to traffic thereon.
KEY ELEMENTS OF PROPOSED OVERSIGHT POLICY
The proposed policy sets the conceptual goals for FHWA oversight. Through the coordination of the Task Force, we have reached general agreement on the proposed policy - now we need to implement. Purpose of the remainder of this session is to have open discussion about the implementation of this restated policy -
As seen in the legislative references - there are apparent conflicts with our roles. And as evidenced by the sharing of the Q&As from Congressman Rogers, there are expectations of the FHWA will ensure the validity of project cost estimates and schedules, ensure the viability of the transportation, and specifically the NHS systems; and ensure that projects are completed on schedule. These expectations may not be in full agreement with the role that has been established by these laws, and HQ is working to further the discussion with OIG, OMB, and Congress on their expectations and the provisions of the law. To complete the description of our challenge, we have our STA partners and their expectations. Based on discussions with FHWA and AASHTO representatives, there is the joint realization that there are STA/FHWA relationships that comply with the oversight concepts outlined in the proposed policy, there are opportunities for additional streamlining of the STA/FHWA processes where the STA will take on manage additional process controls, and there are STA/FHWA that are not in compliance with the oversight policy.