Final rule on FTA and FHWA implementation of NEPA
A final rule was published, which makes revisions to the joint Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Highway Administration regulations that implement the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). The revisions are aimed at streamlining the FTA environmental process for transit projects by establishing new categorical exclusions (CEs) intended to improve the efficiency of the environmental review process by making available the least intensive form of review for actions that typically do not have the potential for significant environmental effects.
The rule makes four major changes: (1) it creates ten new CEs to be located in a newly proposed section of the regulation at 23 CFR 771.118 (including bicycle and pedestrian facilities within an existing transportation right-of-way); (2) it expands public involvement methods to include electronic means; (3) it adds language on early scoping into the regulations; and (4) it modifies the list of project types that normally result in the preparation of an EIS.
For an overview of the rule, see the FTA presentation offering guidance on implementation of new CEs.