- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FHWA provided $2 million in emergency relief (ER) “Quick Release” funding to the State of Washington resulting from the January-February 2017 storm event. Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed a state of emergency for the following 28 Washington counties affected by severe winter weather: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom, and Whitman. Winter storms from January 30 through February 22 produced high winds, heavy snowfall, ice accumulation and significant rainfall.
The storms caused power outages, damage to roads and public utilities, delays and cancellations within the state ferry system and at major airports and damage to homes and businesses. At this time the preliminary estimate for repairs of both Washington State DOT (WSDOT) and Local Agency federal-aid routes is in excess of $13 Million. The Division office has determined this event eligible for ER funding and is working with WSDOT to assess the full extent of damages.
On October 18, 2016, Washington Division staff presented at a training event in Olympia hosted by WSDOT on the Emergency Relief (ER) Procedures Manual. The training focused on the process for seeking reimbursement from both FHWA and Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). The goal of the training was to provide a comprehensive understanding of the ER process, from the time an event happens to reconciling the funding and closing out the site. The training provided attendees the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the ER process.
On October 28, 2016, WSDOT, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and FHWA Washington Division received the final Programmatic Biological Opinion (PBO) from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for WSDOT preservation, improvement, and maintenance activities. This PBO completes Endangered Species Act formal consultation for 18 species and critical habitat for the majority of federal-aid actions in Washington State. The PBO updates and expands the previous PBO by addressing 40 fish passage projects annually as part of the planned 814 fish passage barrier removals. Fish passage projects will have an expedited review pathway, referred to as, “Fast Track” which allows projects to proceed within 5 days of NMFS notification. The new PBO will expedite delivery of the federal-aid program while opening access to a predicted 640 miles of habitat annually for federally-listed salmon. The PBO continues a successful collaboration between WSDOT, FHWA, NMFS, and USACE.
The tables above reflects the number of days taken for the FHWA Washington Division to approve authorizations / modifications submitted into the Financial Management Information System (FMIS) from WSDOT. (Our Stewardship & Oversight agreement states we will turn around requests within 5 days or less). For Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2017 (through April) 909 out of 979 projects in FMIS were approved within 5 days or less which comes out to 93%. This is an improvement of 5% from FFY2016 year end percentage of 88%.
INACTIVE PROJECT PERCENTAGES AND TOTAL NUMBER OF INACTIVE PROJECTS
A total of 260 projects were inactive in the first and second quarters of FFY2017 (116 and 144), representing an inactive percentage of 1.0% and 1.7%, respectively. FHWA’s quarterly target is under 2% inactivity of total obligated Federal funds. The quarterly inactive percentage is found by dividing all projects inactive (projects with no expenditures processed for 12 months or more) unexpended obligation by each state’s total annual apportionments.
During the week of January 16, 2017, the FHWA Resource Center (RC) and three members of the Washington Division observed how WSDOT’s Cost Estimation Validation Process (CEVP) was applied on the I-5 Steilacoom-DuPont Rd to Thorne Lane Corridor Improvement Project.FHWA HQ approves, on a limited basis, the use of State risk-based estimating processes in lieu of FHWA Cost Estimate Reviews (CERs) on major projects.Since 2002 WSDOT has applied risk-based estimating procedures to estimate cost and schedule on construction projects.The use of risk-based estimating was initially mandated by the then WSDOT Secretary as a result of cost overruns on the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel Project.To reduce the potential for similar project cost overruns, WSDOT pioneered the cost and schedule risk-based estimating and developed the overall approach that is used today even on CERs.The RC found that risk-based estimating is fully integrated into the cost estimating practices at WSDOT.This is verified in state policy memos, state cost estimating procedures, and observation of the estimating practices on the project reviewed.WSDOT has successfully integrated risk-based estimating policy and guidance enterprise-wide. They demonstrated the knowledge of documented procedures by agency staff, and the training programs and materials available to ensure future staff are properly trained and have continued support by agency leadership to provide resources to support risk-based estimating as a key business practice within the organization. RC recommended FHWA continue to accept WSDOT’s CVEP processlieu of the FHWA CER.
On March 9, 2017, Division Administrator Mathis signed FHWA’s Record of Decision (ROD) for the FTA-funded Sound Transit (regional light rail and transit provider) project.The project, the Federal Way Link Extension, will extend the Link Light Rail system from the Angle Lake Station near SeaTac Airport to the Federal Way Transit Center along Interstate 5 (south of Seattle).FHWA was a cooperating agency on the FTA Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).The Notice of Intent was published on June 17, 2013, the Draft EIS was released on April 10, 2015, and the Final EIS was released on November 18, 2016.FTA signed their ROD on March 6, 2017. The Division worked closely with FTA on the ROD allowing for a nearly concurrent ROD approval. Most of the 7.8-mile light rail alignment will be constructed within existing right-of-way (ROW) along the west side of I-5. The FHWA ROD addresses elements of the project affecting ROW requiring FHWA approvals.
US Coast Guard (USCG) District 13 and FHWA Headquarters staff met with FHWA Washington Division, Western Federal Lands Highway Division, and WSDOT staff on January 11, 2017, in Seattle to discuss our ongoing efforts to ensure compliance with the 2014 USCG-FHWA Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). the early September 2016 training on the MOA, the Washington Division has worked with WSDOT to revise their Categorical Exclusion documentation and other NEPA guidance to ensure that projects have contacted USCG to determine if they have jurisdiction over any crossings of waterways. We are also working to streamline the process of getting the USCG’s jurisdictional determination, and WSDOT has received these determinations for all of the stand-alone fish barrier removal projects planned for the next six years.WSDOT submitted about 50 projects to USCG in two batches, in spreadsheet form, with site photos and hyperlinks to Google Earth, along with other project information, which the USCG reviewers found very helpful in expediting their review.We are exploring other streamlining ideas, including geographic information system (GIS) mapping of locations of previous USCG permits. Finally we talked about how best to educate WSDOT region staff and local public agency staff about coordination with the USCG to ensure compliance with the 2014 MOA.
This chart shows the timeliness of FHWA Washington Division approval for emergency relief (ER) damage inspection reports. Our goal is to approve 90% of these reports within 10 days of receipt. ER reports that exceed 16 days are delayed typically due to external permits, need for additional information, and other factors.
Together with WSDOT’s Government Relations Liaison, Real Estate Administrator, and Relocation Program Manager, the Washington Division Right of Way (ROW) Program Manager met with Washington State Senate staff in January 2017 to discuss proposed legislation to amend the RCWs (Revised Code of Washington) to incorporate the Uniform Relocation Act amendments from the MAP-21 legislation. Although WSDOT has complied with the MAP-21 amendments since they became effective on October 1, 2014, the legislation, which passed and was signed into law by Governor Inslee on April 14, 2017, provides the State statutory language to support WSDOT’s prior ROW Manual revisions. This legislation will enable WSDOT and Local Agencies to more effectively and efficiently determine and process relocation entitlements for displaced persons. Before these changes came about, additional justification was required for displaced residential owners and tenants to receive Last Resort Housing payment assistance. With these changes, fewer such determinations will be required, thus speeding the project delivery process.
The Washington Division ROW Program Manager participated in two Local Public Agency (LPA) workshops in WSDOT’s Northwest Region on February 7th and 8th, 2017. The first was held at WSDOT’s Region office in Shoreline and the other was in Burlington. These workshops are held annually throughout the state and they provide both LPAs and consultants with current information on policies and procedures, and also function as a training session for different topics each year. Key topics that were presented at these workshops included Early Acquisition Options, ROW Consultant Qualifications, and a discussion of the changes to 23 CFR 635, 710 and 810 which were published in the Federal Register in August 2016 and became effective on September 22, 2016. The sessions brought together over 60 LPA and consultant participants. Future sessions are planned for the Southwest and Eastern Regions of the state later this spring.
In support of WSDOT’s efforts to improve implementation of its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program and achieve overall program effectiveness, the Washington Division continues to provide technical assistance as requested/deemed appropriate. Some of the more recent Division technical assistance activities include: conducted DBE program training for WSDOT Office of Equal Opportunity staff (many of whom are new to WSDOT and the DBE program); assisted in developing DBE program (and other civil rights) contract requirements associated with the Instructions to Proposers, Request for Qualifications, and Request for Proposals documents for use on Federal-aid Design-Build projects; and assisted in revising the existing DBE General Special Provisions (GSPs) to account for firms deemed Underutilized DBEs (UDBEs). These, and other concerted efforts by WSDOT and the Washington Division demonstrate the commitment by both agencies to create a more positive DBE program environment here in Washington State.
|For more information contact:|
FHWA Washington Division
Program Management Analyst
FHWA Oregon/Washington Division