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FHWA/FTA Questions and Answers on Public Involvement in Transportation Decisionmaking

[11] With respect to Federal Lands Agency projects (especially Indian Reservation Roads projects), how can the State DOT and MPO ensure that public involvement has taken place within the planning process in the STIP/TIP?

First, it is necessary for the State and MPO to provide for active involvement by the Federal Lands Agencies and Indian tribal governments in statewide or metropolitan transportation planning and programming. Such involvement allows all participants to coordinate plans and programs of projects under consideration by the various implementing agencies. However, when planning for the involvement of Indian tribal governments, it is important for agency staff to recognize and be sensitive to tribal customs and to the nationally recognized sovereignty of tribal governments. As a result, tribal governments should be actively sought for participation in the development of metropolitan and State plans and programs as independent government bodies rather than as specific minority groups.

Second, each of the Federal Lands Agencies has its own procedures for transportation planning that comply with guidance from the FHWA's Federal Lands Highway Office which administers the Federal Lands Highway Program. Public involvement may not always occur during the development of transportation improvement programs for each Federal Lands Agency or Indian tribe. Therefore, while metropolitan area public involvement on the metropolitan TIP can serve as a surrogate for public involvement on the STIP for that area, no such assumption can be made for a Federal Lands Agency or tribal TIP. Because the Federal Lands Agency or tribal public involvement process may not satisfy the State DOT or MPO public involvement process for transportation planning, the State DOT and MPO must determine whether other public involvement measures are needed.

Third, the State and MPO (with FHWA and FTA field offices, as appropriate) should work proactively with the Federal Lands Agencies and Indian Tribal Governments to gain an understanding of procedures regarding development of each agency's TIP. These procedures may vary considerably from agency to agency. Areas to examine include the schedule for TIP development; the format of the TIP; and plans for meeting with various groups, members of the public, and Tribal Governments during TIP development.

Updated: 5/16/2013
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