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ADOT seeks federal approval to administer new project environmental reviews

NEPA Assignment ensures rigorous environmental reviews
June 29, 2018

PHOENIX – All highway projects require some level of environmental analysis to assess potential impacts. From installation of a new set of roadside signs to construction of a new urban freeway, different levels of environmental review are required under the National Environmental Policy Act, which the Arizona Department of Transportation is required to follow when using federal funds.

In order to further streamline environmental review for federal-aid projects, Congress created the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program, or “NEPA Assignment.” This program allows a state to apply for and assume decision-making and legal responsibility for meeting requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal environmental laws otherwise administered by the Federal Highway Administration for projects.

The requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act apply to all projects that use federal funds, including local roadway projects that may be administered by ADOT.

Recognizing that states are able to comply with federal environmental requirements on their own while streamlining processes and have waived their sovereign immunity in relation to federal court jurisdiction, ADOT is seeking environmental review authority and responsibility under NEPA Assignment for projects that require environmental assessments or the more rigorous environmental impact statements.

An application for NEPA Assignment is a required first step toward entering the program. ADOT has posted its application for public review and comment at azdot.gov/business/environmental-planning/ce-assignment-and-nepa-assignment.

Alaska, California, Florida, Ohio, Texas and Utah have already implemented NEPA Assignment.

ADOT already has responsibility for certain NEPA decisions known as categorical exclusions, involving projects found to not have significant environmental impacts. ADOT entered into a separate agreement with the Federal Highway Administration on Jan. 3 to assume that responsibility.

For more information on ADOT and NEPA Assignment, visit azdot.gov/business/environmental-planning/ce-assignment-and-nepa-assignment.

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Civil Rights

Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ADOT does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability. Persons that require a reasonable accommodation based on language or disability should contact ADOT’s Civil Rights Office at civilrightsoffice@azdot.gov. Requests should be made as early as possible to ensure the State has an opportunity to address the accommodation.

De acuerdo con el título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964 y la Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades (ADA por sus siglas en inglés), el Departamento de Transporte de Arizona (ADOT por sus siglas en inglés) no discrimina por raza, color, nacionalidad, edad, género o discapacidad. Personas que requieren asistencia (dentro de lo razonable) ya sea por el idioma o por discapacidad deben ponerse en contacto con la Oficina de Derechos Civiles en civilrightsoffice@azdot.gov. Las solicitudes deben hacerse lo más pronto posible para asegurar que el equipo encargado del proyecto tenga la oportunidad de hacer los arreglos necesarios.