The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public input on environmental review processes that can be improved under the Inflation Reduction Act.
FHWA will consider ideas and recommendations from public and private stakeholders on how to reduce project delays through the development of more efficient and effective environmental reviews, according to U.S. DOT's news release.
“Under President Biden’s leadership, we now have historic funding to bring better roads, bridges, railways, highways, and transit to the American people,” said Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation. “To make the most of that funding, we are stepping up efforts to help communities deliver their transportation projects on time, on task, and on budget.”
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides guidance and resources to several Federal agencies to facilitate efficient and effective reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act and other Federal processes. This could include identifying new strategies that would mitigate environmental impacts and thereby reduce timeframes for environmental reviews.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is providing the nation with historic investments and new opportunities to build an economy that works for working families,” said Shailen Bhatt, Federal Highway administrator. “Our goal with this request for information is to identify new strategies and evidence-based solutions that can both increase the efficiency of environmental reviews and reduce delays when it comes to delivering projects.”
The IRA includes Environmental Review Implementation Program funds to be administered by FHWA to support environmental reviews of surface transportation projects, including intercity rail projects funded by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and public transportation projects funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
The funds may also be used by FHWA to develop guidance, technical assistance, templates, training, or other tools to facilitate an environmental review process for surface transportation projects.
In order to use the Environmental Review Implementation Funds optimally, FHWA is seeking information through the RFI on what the agency should consider while implementing the funds.
“Like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the IRA provides unprecedented investment opportunities for America’s transportation system,” said Amit Bose, Federal Railroad administrator. “Delivering great projects on time and within budget requires careful planning and strong execution. Like the Capital Project Guidance FRA recently issued, this RFI will enhance project delivery across the board.”
FHWA is also seeking information on:
- the types of assistance that would be most beneficial to recipients of direct funding and facilitate an efficient and effective environmental review process for surface transportation projects;
- what program areas would most benefit from new or continued research; and,
- ways in which FHWA can make resources available to the eligible entities while promoting equity and maximizing the opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the environmental review process.