NEPA ASSUMPTION SURFACE TRANSPORTATION PROJECT DELIVERY PROGRAM
WHAT IS NEPA ASSUMPTION? Formal Assignment of NEPA responsibilities from FHWA All CEs, EAs and EISs All environmental laws, rules and orders Under this program, ODOT would act on behalf and as FHWA on all projects for environmental matters.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF NEPA ASSUMPTION? Streamline the Environmental Process while still meeting environmental protection standards. Deliver program an overall 2,140 days quicker= 20% time savings Save costs to the Department Assumption program will save ODOT $45 million each year
SCOPE OF THE NEPA ASSUMPTION PROGRAM FHWA retains discretion on what to assign. They may withhold assignment of specific projects or responsibilities. FHWA will keep the following: Engineering decisions Air quality conformity and Tribal consultation USDOT responsibilities for statewide and metropolitan planning Multi-modal projects, projects that cross state lines, etc.
THE NEPA ASSUMPTION PROGRAM ODOT would be legally responsible to ensure compliance Can be sued in Federal court All laws are still in existence. ODOT would act on behalf of FHWA Savings come from reduced reviews not shortcutting the environmental process or legal requirements.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? More efficient environmental review process Time and cost savings by eliminating a layer of review More efficient project delivery program Provides for more efficient consultation between ODOT and our agencies Provides an increased focus on local decision-making Continue ODOT’s leadership of our program
HOW WILL THIS IMPACT FHWA? Moving from project to program responsibilities, FHWA will provide the following: Training Technical assistance and policy interpretation No project assistance Program audits Twice yearly for first 2 years, once a year after Process and Program reviews Reports back to congress
HOW WILL THIS IMPACT ODOT? ODOT must maintain detailed files, records and make them available to FHWA ODOT must carry out regular self-assessments and continuous QA/QC on all actions ODOT must maintain the professional and experienced staff to carry out the necessary scope ODOT must report out to FHWA on all actions
HOW DOES ODOT HAVE TO CHANGE? “If it’s not written down, it didn’t happen!” ODOT has to effectively document it’s actions. Ensure actions are tracked and accounted for. QA/QC is a must! One document goes thru 2x reviews due to corrections Cost US $10,000 and 30-60 days. Multiply that by 600 documents yearly! Follow the PDP and it’s supporting guidance Ensure commitments are carried out in the field
WHAT CAN GO WRONG? ODOT will be legally responsible for all NEPA decisions ODOT will defend in federal court (we already do it today) Required for both on and off the State Highway System- pass thru federal monies are the same as ODOT spending them No more FHWA backstop “The feds are making us do it….” ODOT has to make the right decisions, based on the required process and laws and stand by it. Failure- FHWA can take the program away.
WHAT’S NEXT? Path to entering NEPA Assumption Limited waiver of sovereign immunity Identify desired scope of assumption Prepare Application, make available to public Develop MOU Develop auditing tools Train and implement
THE APPLICATION FOR NEPA ASSUMPTION Early Draft has been developed The Application identifies: Scope of Assignment Current & Proposed Organization Current & Proposed Procedures, Tools Roles and Responsibilities Training Resources
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR NEPA ASSUMPTION? Meet with agencies and associations- 12/2014 Gain support Identify improvement areas/concerns Limited waiver of sovereign immunity- 3/2015 Public Notice of Draft Application- 4/2015 MOU to FHWA- 6/2015 MOU Public Notice- 9/2015 Effective Date of program- 12/2015
WHY WE WILL SUCCEED… Experienced environmental team Excellent training, manuals, processes already in place Renewed focus on QA/QC Commitment to make it succeed- savings of $45 million Commitment to continue to improve and adapt
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP? Need to understand and address any concerns you may have. Support ODOT’s budget bill language for the limited waiver of sovereign immunity. Prepare letters of support during the Application comment period. Help us continue to improve and ensure positive performance of this program!
NEPA ASSUMPTION SURFACE TRANSPORTATION PROJECT DELIVERY PROGRAM Contacts: Tim Hill, Administrator Office of Environmental Services Tim.Hill@dot.state.oh.us 614-644-0377 Erica L. Schneider, Assistant Administrator Office of Environmental Services Erica.Schneider@dot.state.oh.us 614-387-0134