What happened:  The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued guidance for when virtual public meetings can be used to satisfy National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) project review and approval requirements.
Why it matters: COVID-19 has made in-person meetings nearly impossible, or very impractical, causing project delays. This measure should help meet review requirements until the pandemic emergency is declared passed.
ARTBA’s take: The association supports greater use of virtual meetings where in-person meetings are not possible. The new guidance accomplishes this goal. The virtual meetings must allow for members of the public to fully express their views and be conducted in a manner that ensures representation from low-income and minority communities. A transcript of all virtual meetings must be maintained.  This important clarification will help prevent project delays in cases where it is not possible for in-person public meetings to occur.
Key documentFHWA’s 1-page Q & A