Balancing the needs of a safe and efficient transportation network with environmental sensitivity has yielded a number of creative solutions and innovations - such as those honored this year with an FHWA Environmental Excellence Award. By integrating environmental protection and enhancement with traditional highway engineering, these projects not only set a good example for the transportation community, they set a high standard of excellence in project decision-making for the next generation.
When he signed into law the "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users" (SAFETEA-LU), President George W. Bush provided the support needed for the winners of FHWA's Environmental Excellence Award to find success with their respective projects. SAFETEA-LU continues to frame our efforts to improve the nation's quality of life by blending environmental protection and, as possible, environmental enhancement with efforts to meet our growing transportation needs.
This year's winners reflect the diversity of nature itself. An independent panel selected thirteen winners from the following 12 categories: Air Quality Improvement; Cultural and Historical Resources; Ecosystems, Habitat and Wildlife; Environmental Leadership; Environmental Research; Environmental Streamlining; Livable/Sustainable Communities; Nonmotorized Transportation; Recycling and Reuse; Roadside Resource Management and Maintenance; Scenic Byways; and Wetlands, Watersheds and Water Quality. The panel also named four honorable mentions from the 174 entries submitted from around the nation.
My sincerest congratulations to each of this year's winners. May your work serve to inspire others and promote an environment of continued excellence.
J. Richard Capka