By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory & legal issues, ARTBA

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Sept. 20 established a new Special Experimental Project, to be known as SEP-16, to evaluate how more Federal-aid highway program responsibilities can be transferred to state agencies.

As detailed in the program notice, potential areas of delegation include approval of design standards, noise policies, preventative maintenance programs and real property acquisitions and disposals. Decisions related to eligibility, obligation, reimbursement, authorization and compliance are excluded and would remain with FHWA.

 ARTBA has consistently encouraged FHWA efforts to delegate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) responsibilities to states. Such programs have significantly reduced project costs and delays. 

 States interested in the new SEP-16 program must submit a letter to FHWA. The program is authorized under the 2015 FAST Act.