The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) March 12 issued guidance implementing changes to the environmental review and approval process in order to reduce project delays, as mandated by the 2012 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) reauthorization law.  Specifically, the guidance deals with a number of ARTBA-supported reforms to project delivery, including:

  • Schedules set by “lead agencies” for “participating agencies” during project reviews;
  • Processes for resolving disagreements between agencies;
  • Penalties for agencies that do not meet deadlines for permit reviews; and
  • Combination of a “Final Environmental Impact Statement” and “Record of Decision” as opposed to creating two separate documents.

ARTBA’s Trans 2020 Task Force provided recommendations to DOT on a number of the reforms addressed in the guidance shortly after MAP-21’s passage, including how to penalize agencies missing permit review deadlines.  Specifically, the Trans 2020 Task Force recommended, “if a disproportionate amount of fines are coming from a particular office or agency, or by a particular type of project or permit, the revenue collected should be channeled into an effort to either retrain the personnel responsible for the delays or examine and correct the procedures causing the delay.”

U.S. DOT is accepting comments on the guidance through May 12. ARTBA intends to submit comments, and would appreciate any feedback from members on this issue.  Please contact ARTBA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Nick Goldstein with any questions.

View the guidance document.