|Congressional Research Service Reports
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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 Transportations (DOTs) 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 Administrations 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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