Guidance- Linking Transportation Planning and NEPA

Printer Friendly Number 2005-04

SUBJECT: Guidance- Linking Transportation Planning and NEPA 
DATE:  April 15, 2005

On February 22, 2005, FTA and FHWA issued important new program guidance on linking planning and NEPA.  The guidance is attached, together with a copy of a legal memo laying out the legal authority, under current law, for this guidance.

FTA and FHWA planning and legal staff developed the guidance to clarify the extent to which the products and conclusions of the metropolitan transportation planning products can be accepted into the NEPA process under current law without second-guessing those planning results.  Utilizing a question and answer format, the guidance is organized into three primary categories:  (1) Procedural Guidance; (2) Substantive Guidance; and (3) Administrative Issues.  This guidance is intended for use by transit agencies, State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs), and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs).

The information in this guidance reflects a combination of conceptual and illustrative "current practice" examples.  While this guidance is voluntary to State DOTs, MPOs, and transit agencies, its implementation will positively affect efforts to link the transportation planning and NEPA decision-making processes.  Of equal importance, this guidance does not extend NEPA requirements to transportation plans and programs.

This guidance represents a significant milestone, reflecting valuable insights and input from Federal environmental, regulatory, and resource agencies; national transportation association groups (e.g., American Public Transportation Association, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and National Association of Regional Councils); and FHWA and FTA field offices.  However, we recognize that much work and several challenges remain in implementing this guidance.

In the spirit of the principles reflected in Executive Order 13274 on Environmental Stewardship, we are committed to collaborating with the various Federal environmental, regulatory, and resource agencies to incorporate these principles within their respective policies, procedures, and practices for highway and transit projects. 

If you have any questions on this program guidance, please contact Federal Transit Administration at 206-220-7954.



R. F. Krochalis
Regional Administrator

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