The following ideas are presented for consideration in discussions about surface transportation authorization legislation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Facilitate using volunteers on TE projects with incentives or exceptions.
Permit TE projects to incorporate workforce development, training, and education (as defined in 23 U.S.C. 504(e)) within the TE projects.