On January 13, 2014, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published a joint final rule in the Federal Register (PDF) creating two new categorical exclusions (CE) for the Agencies, pursuant to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). In addition to adding two new categorical exclusions for actions within the existing operational right-of-way and actions with limited Federal assistance, FTA also removed the example at 23 CFR Sec. 771.118(d)(5), and reserved it for future use.
This final rule amends the FHWA and FTA joint procedures that implement NEPA by creating a new CE for emergency actions as required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21). The final rule modifies the existing lists of FHWA and FTA CEs and expands the existing CE for emergencies to include emergency actions as described in MAP–21 and pursuant to this rulemaking.
This final rule makes revisions to the joint FTA and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations that implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that aim to streamline the environmental process. The new categorical exclusions (CE) established by this rule, which affect actions by FTA and FTA grant applicants, are intended to improve the efficiency of the environmental review process by making available the least intensive form of review for those actions that typically do not have the potential for significant environmental effects, and, therefore, do not merit additional analysis and documentation associated with an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.
The NPRM includes proposed revisions to the FHWA and FTA joint NEPA implementing procedures prompted by enactment of the MAP-21. The NPRM proposes to add new CEs for projects within an existing operational right-of-way and projects receiving limited Federal funding, as detailed in the NPRM text below. Interested parties have until April 29, 2013, to submit comments.