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Legislation Encouraging Environmental Considerations in Transportation Planning

Steps to legistlative buildingThe Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) passed on August 10, 2005, included 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 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

The aim of these provisions are to continually enhance the quality of the transportation planning process, while reducing the project delivery time and achieving better environmental outcomes. By incorporating environmental concerns earlier in the planning process and including all transportation stakeholders, the transportation planning process will be a more informed decision-making process.

Section 6001, Environmental Considerations in Planning requires certain elements and activities to be included in the development of long-range transportation plans, including:

  • Consult with resource agencies, such as those responsible for land-use management, natural resources, environmental protection, conservation and historic preservation
  • Considers environmental concerns in the long-range, statewide and metropolitan planning
  • Discussion of potential environmental mitigation activities
  • Develop participation plans for input on projects and identifies a process for stakeholder involvement
  • Comparisons of resource maps and inventories to provide a visualization of proposed transportation strategies where practicable

Section 6002, Efficient Environmental Review for Project Decision Making

  • Defines an “Environmental Review Process”
  • Involves participating agencies and the public in developing project purpose and need and a range of alternatives
  • Makes funding available for resource agencies to contribute to process improvements for activities that expedite and improve transportation planning and project delivery


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