CE Assignment and NEPA Assignment

New: ADOT signs NEPA Assignment Memorandum Of Understanding.

Signed on August 10, 2005, the “Safe Affordable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act – Legacy of Users” (SAFETEA-LU) allowed states to assume federal responsibility for Categorical Exclusion (CE) determinations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and established a five-state pilot program allowing the United States Department of Transportation Secretary to delegate all environmental review responsibilities to those five states. Under the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21) the pilot program was converted into a permanent Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (NEPA Assignment).

To help implement the efficiencies incorporated into federal law, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has assumed Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) responsibility for carrying out environmental approvals under both available programs concurrently: Responsibility for Categorical Exclusions (23 USC 326) and the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (23 USC 327).  With this assignment of federal environmental review responsibility, ADOT is responsible for complying with all applicable federal environmental laws, regulations, Executive Orders and policies, and is solely legally responsible for environmental decisions made on all ADOT federal-aid highway projects.

The 327 NEPA Assignment MOU was signed by FHWA and ADOT on April 16, 2019.

CE Assignment

The 326 CE MOU was signed by FHWA and ADOT on January 3, 2018.

NEPA Assignment Contacts

Paul O'Brien
Environmental Planning Admin

Steven Olmsted
NEPA Assignment Manager

More Information:

Related Links:


ADOT Actions leading toward NEPA Assignment

ADOT is currently getting some new procedures and guidelines in place to assume federal environmental review responsibilities in addition to the certain actions that are required by each state entering into this program.

NEPA Assignment - 23 USC 327

  • ADOT prepared an Application, which included a public review and comment period
  • Final Application
  • Requires Sovereign Immunity Waiver
    • On March 22, 2017, Governor Doug Ducey signed into law Senate Bill 1211 which amended the Arizona Revised Statues Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 28-334 C. to allow ADOT to assume federal environmental review responsibility and to waive sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution for the limited purposes of addressing legal matters in carrying out federal environmental review responsibilities pursuant to 23 USC 326 and 23 USC 327.

View the presentation slides for the August 15, 2017, webinar held for Agencies and Tribal Governments. This presentation provides an overview of the NEPA Assignment process.

Quality Control

ADOT has procedures in place for ensuring quality in environmental decision-making, documentation and continuous improvement.  ADOT's Performance reports prepared pursuant to stipulation IV(F)(2) of the 326 MOU and FHWA performance monitoring reports prepared pursuant to stipulation IV(F)(5) of the 326 MOU are available upon requests to ADOT.