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RS20841 - Environmental Streamlining Provisions in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century: Status of Implementation (pdf)

5-Mar-2002; David M. Bearden, Linda G. Luther; 6 p.

Update: May 30, 2003

Previous releases:

Abstract: Before construction on a federally funded surface transportation project can proceed, the Department of Transportation€s (DOT€s) Federal Highway Administration must comply with all state and federal legal requirements regarding the environment, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). In 1998, Congress passed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21, P.L. 105-178), which reauthorized the federal surface transportation programs. At the time, various stakeholders reported to Congress that the numerous federal environmental approvals and permits needed to build a highway were inefficient and overly time-consuming. Congress attempted to address these concerns by including €Environmental Streamlining€ provisions in TEA-21 that required DOT to develop and implement a €coordinated environmental review process€ for projects that do or may have a significant impact on the environment (approximately 10% of all highway projects). This review process is intended to encourage full and early participation by all relevant federal and state agencies required to participate in a highway project. Numerous administrative activities have been undertaken to facilitate streamlining. However, regulations to implement the streamlining provisions of TEA-21 have not been finalized. Some Members of Congress have expressed concern over the lack of regulations, and have argued that further legislative action is necessary to achieve faster project delivery. The Administration€s legislative proposal for surface transportation reauthorization was introduced in the House (H.R. 2088) and Senate (S. 1072) on May 14 and 15, 2003, respectively. Included in the bill are provisions intended to further streamline the NEPA process. This report will be updated.
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* These CRS reports were produced by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress providing nonpartisan research reports to members of the House and Senate. The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) has made these reports available to the public at large, but the Congressional Research Service is not affiliated with the NCSE or the National Library for the Environment (NLE). This web site is not endorsed by or associated with the Congressional Research Service. The material contained in the CRS reports does not necessarily express the views of NCSE, its supporters, or sponsors. The information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. NCSE disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall NCSE be liable for any damages.