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PEL Questionnaire Equivalents for Florida Department of Transportation

Equivalent: Efficient Transportation Decision Making Process

Criteria 1: Institutionalized Process

Equivalence Criteria Met
  1. Institutionalized Process
  2. Required:
    1. The early and continuous coordination with regulatory and resource agencies
    2. Public and stakeholder coordination
    3. Description of planning scope and vision statement
    4. Alternatives that were considered, selected, and rejected
    5. Explanation of planning assumptions
  3. Recommended:
    1. Analysis of the affected environment and environmental consequences
    2. Potential strategies for broad-scale mitigation
    3. Description and/or analysis of potential cumulative effects
    4. A method of documenting FHWA approval
In an effort to streamline the transportation planning and project development processes without compromising the quality of Florida's natural and human environment, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) developed the Efficient Transportation Decision-making Process (ETDM)1. ETDM outlines a process and documentation requirements to advance a project seamlessly through three phases: planning, programming, and project development. Throughout the ETDM process, the Environmental Screening Tool (EST), an Internet-accessible interactive database, is used to document project changes, evaluate impacts, and communicate project details to agencies and the public. The EST is an integral component of the ETDM process and promotes agency participation and interaction as well as public involvement.

Alignment with equivalence criteria

ETDM meets a majority of the criteria for determining PEL questionnaire equivalents. The following information describes the components of the ETDM system that align with the criteria.

Criteria 1: Institutionalized process

Twenty-four Federal, State, and regional agencies collaborated to develop and implement the ETDM process. All agencies signed a MOU to institutionalize the process and outline the involvement and participation of each agency. In addition to this MOU, participating agencies are also required to sign three additional agreements with FDOT and FHWA; the Master Agreement, Agency Operating Agreement, and Funding Agreement. Together with the MOU, these agreements ensure that the ETDM process is swiftly and successfully followed.

Criteria 2a to 2e, and 3a to 3c

The ETDM process takes a project from the planning stages through NEPA approval and permitting. The process provides resource agencies and the public the opportunity to provide early input into a project's potential impacts to the natural and built environments through a series of screening events. Combined, these steps satisfy required equivalence criteria 2a through 2e and optional criteria 3a through 3c. The analysis performed in the planning and programming screens are described below.

Planning screen

This initial screening of planned projects allows resource and regulatory agencies to review project Purpose and Need Statements and comment on the potential impact of projects to environmental and community resources very early in the planning process. Direct and indirect effects of proposed projects are evaluated and documented. In the case of known unavoidable effects, agencies provide input on suggested mitigation measures. Public coordination is also an important element of the planning screen. During this screen, Community Liaison Coordinators work with the community to address issues and requests regarding context-sensitive design. This phase is concluded with the preparation of a summary report, which contains a summary of agency and public input, key recommendations and conclusions regarding potential project effects, and specific scope requirements to be addressed in project development.

Programming Screen

This second screening of major transportation projects occurs before projects are funded in the FDOT Five-Year Work Program. This screen initiates the NEPA process for Federally funded projects or the State Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for state funded projects. Resource and regulatory agency input about the potential effects to environmental and community resources are the basis for agency scoping to facilitate compliance with NEPA. FHWA and FDOT agree on a Class of Action Determination for each priority project which is summarized along with agency and community input, preliminary project concepts, reasonable project alternatives, and scoping recommendations in the Final Programming Summary Report. This report is used as the transition document to the Project Development Phase, and is available electronically to project managers, resource agencies and the public.

1 Available online at https://etdmpub.fla-etat.org/est/

Page last modified on February 12, 2018
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