Public comments welcome

All highway projects require some level of environmental analysis to assess potential impacts. From installation of new roadside signs to construction of a new urban freeway, different levels of environmental review are required under the National Environmental Policy Act, which the Arizona Department of Transportation is required to follow when using federal funds.

To further streamline environmental review for federal-aid projects, Congress created the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program, or “NEPA Assignment.” This program allows a state to apply for and assume decision-making and legal responsibility for meeting requirements of NEPA and other federal environmental laws otherwise administered by the FHWA for projects.

Recognizing that states are able to comply with federal environmental requirements on their own, while streamlining processes, and have waived their sovereign immunity in relation to federal court jurisdiction, ADOT is seeking environmental review authority and responsibility under NEPA Assignment for projects that require environmental assessments or the more rigorous environmental impact statements.

ADOT already has responsibility for certain NEPA decisions known as categorical exclusions, involving projects found not to have significant environmental impacts. ADOT entered into a separate agreement with the FHWA on Jan. 3, 2018, to assume that responsibility.

To assume review authority for other levels of environmental review, ADOT has submitted a Draft Memorandum of Understanding and Final Application Notice to assume environmental authority and review responsibility from the Secretary of Transportation as required by NEPA for federally funded highway projects in Arizona and for local projects that are not part of the highway system but are also federally funded. This is part of a process to streamline environmental reviews for transportation projects, while fulfilling all federal requirements.

The Application addresses ADOT’s plan to assume environmental authority and review responsibility for federally funded state highway system projects, including interstates, U.S. highways and state routes and Local Public Agency projects that are not part of the state highway system in Arizona. ADOT is also applying to assume all of FHWA’s responsibilities for environmental review, resource agency consultation, and other environmental regulatory compliance-related actions pertaining to the review or approval of projects in Arizona.

The MOU Notice outlining the program under which the FHWA would assign environmental review authority and responsibility to ADOT is now available for review and comment. ADOT encourages members of the public to review and comment on the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program MOU, also known as NEPA Assignment.

•Please submit your comments online by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comment.

•For more information, visit ADOT’s Environmental Planning and NEPA Assignment website or contact ADOT NEPA Assignment Manager Steven Olmsted at SOlmsted@azdot.gov or by calling 602.712.6421.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other nondiscrimination laws and authorities, ADOT does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Persons that require a reasonable accommodation based on language or disability should contact Steven Olmsted at mailto:SOlmsted@azdot.govor 602.712.6421. Requests should be made as early as possible to ensure the State has an opportunity to address the accommodation.

De acuerdo con el Título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964, la Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades (ADA por sus siglas en inglés) y otras normas y leyes antidiscriminatorias, el Departamento de Transporte de Arizona (ADOT) no discrimina por motivos de raza, color, origen nacional, sexo, edad o discapacidad. Las personas que requieran asistencia (dentro de lo razonable) ya sea por el idioma o discapacidad deben ponerse en contacto Steven Olmsted a SOlmsted@azdot.gov o 602.712.6421. Las solicitudes deben hacerse lo más antes posible para asegurar que el Estado tenga la oportunidad de hacer los arreglos necesarios.

Comments