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

ARTBA reiterated its support for an agreement between Texas and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) allowing state officials to make key environmental decisions on transportation construction projects. ARTBA’s comments were offered as a response to an FHWA audit of the Texas 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. 27 comments, ARTBA noted that allowing Texas to administer NEPA “has already improved the project delivery process by reducing delays and decreasing costs without sacrificing necessary environmental protections.”

Further, ARTBA noted FHWA had recently described the delegation program as one which “saves time and money, making it good government AND good business.”  ARTBA has supported similar efforts in California, Ohio, Florida and Utah.