Q. We have an FTA funded project that is in final design. A local city would like us to extend the scope to cover a new section of light rail that will be locally funded. Does incorporating that section in our federally funded contract make it necessary for the section to be NEPA or SEPA compliant or even impact our own NEPA or SEPA approvals.
A. We understand your question to be whether extending the scope of an existing contract being funded, in part, with funds from FTA to cover new scopes of work would require approvals under NEPA. NEPA is required whenever there is a major federal action to be taken. In this context, the major federal action is the award and use of federal funds for a project contract. If the "extension" of the scope of a contract means that FTA funds may be used for this new scope, then NEPA would be required to evaluate these new activities. However, please note that even if no federal funds are being used, in some cases, there is a sufficient nexus between a non-federally-funded project and the federally-funded project that would, under NEPA, require the impacts of the non-federally-funded project to be analyzed. We encourage you to contact your regional FTA office and provide specific facts in order to obtain case-specific advice on the application of NEPA. (Posted: January, 2012)