By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs & assistant general counsel, ARTBA

ARTBA is supporting a proposed agreement between Utah and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) allowing state officials to make key environmental decisions on transportation construction projects.  The association also offered separate comments supporting California’s bid to renew its existing delegation program.

A provision in the 2012 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) surface transportation law grants states the right to assume responsibility for portions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process.

In Dec. 16 comments, ARTBA noted that allowing Utah to administer NEPA could “reduce the amount of time involved in the environmental review and approval process by lessening the burden on federal agencies.” See the Utah and California comment’s on ARTBA’s regulatory affairs page.

ARTBA has supported similar efforts in Texas, Ohio and Florida and the program has yielded significant results. In California, for example, the median time savings on Final Environmental Impact Statements is 11 years.