Legislation, Regulations and Guidance
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21)
MAP-21 (P.L. 112-141), a two-year funding bill, was signed into law on July 6, 2012, with an effective date of October 1, 2012. MAP-21 creates a streamlined and performance-based surface transportation program and builds on many of the highway, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian programs and policies established in 1991. MAP-21 promotes accelerating project delivery and encourages innovation through the increased use of programmatic approaches and planning and environment linkages. For more information on MAP-21, visit the FHWA MAP-21 website or the U.S. DOT MAP-21 website.
Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)
SAFETEA-LU includes several provisions intended to enhance the consideration of environmental issues and impacts within the transportation planning process and encourage the use of the products from planning in the NEPA process. Specifically, Sections 6001 and 6002 require many of the activities that were previously considered "good" practices to strengthen linkages. Here are some of the most relevant provisions.
Section 6001: Environmental Considerations in Planning requires certain elements and activities to be included in the development of long-range transportation plans, including:
- Consultations with resource agencies, such as those responsible for land-use management, natural resources, environmental protection, conservation and historic preservation, which shall involve, as appropriate, comparisons of resource maps and inventories
- Discussion of potential environmental mitigation activities
- Participation plans that identify a process for stakeholder involvement
- Visualization of proposed transportation strategies where practicable
To read Section 6001, visit the SAFETEA-LU text.
Statewide Transportation Planning; Metropolitan Transportation Planning; Final Rule (effective 3/16/07), published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2007. The planning rule revises the regulations governing the development of State transportation plans and programs, metropolitan transportation plans and programs, and the regulations for Congestion Management Systems. The revisions include the consultation and mitigation requirements under SAFETEA-LU Section 6001 discussed above. The planning rule explains how results or decisions of transportation planning studies may be used as part of the overall project development process consistent with NEPA (23 CFR 450.212 and 450.318). Appendix A to Part 450 provides additional, nonbinding guidance to further explain the linkages between the transportation planning and project development/NEPA processes.
Appendix A to Part 450 — Linking the Transportation Planning and NEPA Processes. This Appendix to the Statewide Transportation Planning; Metropolitan Transportation Planning; Final Rule (Federal Register February 14, 2007) provides details on how information, analysis, and products from transportation planning can be incorporated into and relied upon in NEPA documents under existing laws. It is intended to be non-binding and voluntary. To read Appendix A, follow the link above, and either (1) Go to page 7280, or (2) perform a "Find" (Ctrl-F or command-F) for "Appendix A to Part 450 — Linking the Transportation Planning and NEPA Processes." The 2005 Legal Guidance on Integration of Planning and NEPA Processes provides additional information, including a review of case law, on how products from the planning process can be used in the NEPA process.
Section 6002: Efficient Environmental Review for Project Decisionmaking establishes a new environmental review process for highways, transit and multi-modal projects. This new process, mandatory for all environmental impact statements (EISs), requires a new public comment process on purpose and need and the range of alternatives, encourages more participation from more agencies and organizations, and defines more formal roles for State, local and tribal agencies in the process.
To read Section 6002, visit the SAFETEA-LU text.
Notice of Availability of Guidance on Section 6002 was published in the Federal Register on November 15, 2006 and is available in html and as a PDF. The Final Guidance was also published on November 15, 2006 and is available in html and as a PDF.
Additional information relating to Planning and Environment Linkages
Environment and Planning Linkage Processes Legal Guidance (2005) provides legal guidance regarding the extent to which the results of the transportation planning process can be used in and relied upon in the NEPA process.
SAFETEA-LU: Environmental Provisions for Transportation Planning (text version). This presentation from the Summer Meeting of the Committee on Historic and Archaeological Preservation in Transportation (ADC50) discusses SAFETEA-LU 6001 provisions for consultation and mitigation, and how planning provisions relate to project development, NEPA, and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
For questions or feedback on this subject matter content, please contact Spencer Stevens or Bruce Bender.