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Superseded Guidance

SAFETEA-LU Deadline for New Planning Requirements (July 1, 2007)

[Note: This document has been incorporated into and/or superseded by Statewide Transportation Planning; Metropolitan Transportation Planning; Final Rule (effective 3/16/07) (or PDF, 395KB); February 14, 2007, Federal Register.] To view PDF files, you need the Acrobat® Reader®.

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Federal Transit Administration
Subject: INFORMATION: SAFETEA-LU Deadline for New Planning Requirements (July 1, 2007)
May 2, 2006


Original Signed by:
Cynthia J. Burbank
Associate Administrator, Planning, Environment and Realty, FHWA

Original Signed by:
Brigid Hynes-Cherin, Associate Administrator for Planning and Environment, FTA

Reply to:
Attn. of:

To: FHWA Division Administrators
FTA Regional Administrators

The purpose of this message is to clarify FHWA/FTA intentions for implementing the following provision in Sections 3006 and 6001of SAFETEA-LU, which relates to new requirements for statewide and metropolitan planning:

"Schedule for Implementation. -- The Secretary shall issue guidance on a schedule for implementation of the changes made by this section, taking into consideration the established planning update cycle for States and metropolitan planning organizations. The Secretary shall not require a State or metropolitan planning organization to deviate from its established planning update cycle to implement changes made by this section. Beginning July 1, 2007, State or metropolitan planning organization plan or program updates shall reflect changes made by this section."

On September 2, 2005, FHWA/FTA issued Interim Guidance, which covered this requirement. On December 8, 2005, FHWA/FTA issued supplementary clarifying guidance, which was followed by supplemental information provided to field office planning staffs by FHWA and FTA on February 6, 2006 and February 13, 2006, respectively.

AMPO, NARC, several MPOs, and others have raised concerns about the implementation of July 1, 2007 deadline. We have assured them that we will consider their concerns carefully in the upcoming rulemaking on SAFETEA-LU planning provisions. In the meantime, this is our current position, which we encourage you to share with states and MPOs, which have concerns about the July 1, 2007 deadline:

On the latter guidance point, AMPO, NARC, and individual MPOs have raised significant concerns, asserting that FHWA/FTA should accept TIP, STIP, and transportation plan amendments after July 1, 2007 when the underlying document to be amended is not SAFETEA-LU compliant. FHWA/FTA expect to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on statewide and metropolitan planning in the spring/early summer of 2006. As part of that rulemaking, we will invite comments on this point. We are particularly interested in which specific SAFETEA-LU provisions cannot be reflected in TIPs, STIPs, and transportation plans before July 1, 2007. We also will welcome suggested alternatives to the approach established in our September 2, 2005 Interim Guidance. As we consider these comments, we will make every effort to be responsive to the practical issues of planning cycles, as well as the importance of the new SAFETEA-LU planning requirements.

Because the outcome of the rulemaking is uncertain, we encourage all States and MPOs to make every effort to develop SAFETEA-LU compliant TIPs, STIPs, and transportation plans by or soon after July 1, 2007. Please work closely with your States, MPOs, and public transportation operators well in advance of July 1, 2007 to cooperatively assess their existing transportation planning processes and mechanisms, identify process and/or product "gaps," and work with them to close the gaps.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact: Larry Anderson, John Humeston, or Harlan Miller in the FHWA Office of Planning or Charlie Goodman in the FTA Office of Systems Planning.

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