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RL32454 - Environmental Provisions in Surface Transportation Reauthorization Legislation Proposed During the 108th Congress (pdf)
8-Dec-2005; Linda G. Luther; 19 p.
Update: April 13, 2005
Abstract: During the 108th Congress, both the House and Senate passed legislation to
reauthorize federal highway, highway safety, and transit programs (H.R. 3550 and
S. 1072). During the reauthorization process, certain environmental issues garnered
significant attention from both Members of Congress and interested stakeholders
(e.g., state transportation agencies, transportation construction organizations, and
environmental groups). This attention was due to both the impact that surface
transportation projects can have on the environment (and, possibly, the costs
associated with addressing those impacts) and the impact that compliance with
environmental requirements can have on project delivery.
Conferees failed to reach an agreement on final reauthorization legislation
before adjournment of the 108th Congress. It is anticipated that the environmental
issues of concern to the 108th Congress will again be addressed by the 109th Congress
when new reauthorization legislation is reintroduced in early 2005. Generally,
environmental provisions in previously passed legislation proposed to do one of the
following: authorize funding to eliminate, control, mitigate, or minimize regulated
environmental impacts associated with surface transportation programs or projects;
or specify procedures required to be undertaken to comply with certain environmental
requirements. In particular, both bills included provisions that would have changed
the procedures the Department of Transportation (DOT) would be required to follow
to comply with the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.) and the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). Both the House and
Senate bills included provisions that would have either specified procedures or
authorized funding to facilitate compliance with one or both of these laws.
Legislation authorizing surface transportation programs for
FY1998-FY2003, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
(TEA-21, P.L. 105-178), expired on September 30, 2003. In accordance
with a series of extension bills, all existing surface transportation
programs continue to operate according to provisions of TEA-
21 while Congress considers reauthorization proposals. The most
recent extension (H.R. 5183) extended funding for surface transportation
programs through May 31, 2005. This report will not be updated.
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