New TxDOT ENV Processes To Reduce Time to Deliver Projects by 50%
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New TxDOT ENV Processes To Reduce Time to Deliver Projects by 50%

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This presentation was presented at the CTAEP February meeting and is titled "FHWA Every Day Counts Initiative and Related TxDOT Efforts". The presenter was Dianna Noble, Director of TxDOT’s ...

This presentation was presented at the CTAEP February meeting and is titled "FHWA Every Day Counts Initiative and Related TxDOT Efforts". The presenter was Dianna Noble, Director of TxDOT’s Environmental Affairs Division.

You can check out my notes on the presentation here: http://www.cubitplanning.com/blog/2011/02/txdot-env-processes-to-reduce-time-to-deliver-projects-by-50/

For more great presentations like this one, check out Austin's Central Texas Association of Environmental Professionals: http://ctaep.wordpress.com/

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New TxDOT ENV Processes To Reduce Time to Deliver Projects by 50% Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Every Day Counts TAEP February 2011 Dianna F. Noble, P.E. Director, Environmental Affairs
  • 2. Every Day Counts
    • Introduction
    • Planning and Environmental Linkages
    • Expanding Use of Programmatic Agreements
    • Use of In-Lieu Fee and Mitigation Banking
    • Enhanced Technical Assistance on Ongoing Environmental Impact Statements (EISs)
    • Legal Sufficiency Enhancements
    • Flexibilities in Right-of-Way
    • Conclusion
  • 3.
    • The environmental review process:
      • Leads to seamless decision-making that minimizes duplication of effort .
      • For transportation projects, the process is complex and must be completed for each project.
      • Involves more than just “NEPA.”
      • Involves compliance with state and federal environmental laws, regulations and agreements .
      • Requires public involvement and coordination.
      • Results in permits and other approvals .
      • Needs both document clearance and permits and other approvals to be released for construction.
      • Continues to be strengthened to improve predictability, efficiency, and effectiveness.
    A. Introduction
  • 4. B. Planning and Environmental Linkages
    • Purpose
      • Leads to seamless decision-making that minimizes duplication of effort
      • Promotes better stewardship
      • Streamlines project level work
  • 5.
    • What has been accomplished
      • 2006 Linking Planning and NEPA Workshop (sponsored by TxDOT and FHWA)
      • NEPAssist training (sponsored by TPP, ENV and EPA)
      • NEPAssist rollout (sponsored by TPP, ENV and EPA)
      • Resource specific studies that have been completed by TxDOT
      • Certain MPOs conduct regional toll analysis and project-level Mobile Source Air Toxics (MSAT) analysis
      • Draft of Revised Environmental Process Framework emphasizes link
    B. Planning and Environmental Linkages
  • 6. B. Planning and Environmental Linkages
    • What has been accomplished (continued)
      • Several resource specific studies (completed and under development)
      • TxDOT Programmatic Type Agreements promote these types of studies
      • Achieve agreement for avoiding, minimizing and mitigating any impacts at the program level
      • Result in improving predictability at project level
  • 7. B. Planning and Environmental Linkages
    • HOU/FTW/Statewide PALM
    • Adobe in Texas (ELP, ODA, LRD)
    • Historic Bridge Inventory (Statewide)
    • Historic Bridge Programmatic 4(f) (Statewide)
    • Texas General Aviation: Survey Methodology and Historic Context (Statewide)
    • Historic Ranch Study in South Texas (CRP, LRD, PHR)
    • Field Guide to Gas Stations (Statewide)
    • The Development of an Agricultural Landscape along the US 77 Corridor (ABL, WFS)
    • Field Guide to Industrial Properties in Texas (LRD, PHR)
    • Multiple-Scale Habitat Models of Rare Plants (PHR, LRD, CRP)
    • Houston Toad Habitat Model (AUS, BRY, YKM)
    • Navasota Ladies’ Tresses Model (BRY, YKM)
    • Stormwater Quality Benefits of a Permeable Friction Course (Statewide)
    • Stormwater Quality Documentation of Roadside Shoulders Borrow Ditches (Statewide)
    • What has been accomplished (continued)
      • Completed Resource Specific Studies include:
  • 8.
    • What has been accomplished (continued)
      • Potential Archeological Liability Map (PALM)
        • consists of map and explanatory documents
        • allows planners and archeologists to identify areas that have a low, medium, high potential with preserved sites
        • determine whether to survey
        • determine survey method
    B. Planning and Environmental Linkages
  • 9.
    • What needs to be accomplished
      • ENV developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) regarding the procedures to follow to determine what information is reflected in resource specific studies and planning documentation
      • ENV developing Standards Of Uniformity (SOUs) regarding what to reference in NEPA document from resource specific studies and planning documentation
      • Proposed research 0-6701: Linking Regional Planning in support of NEPA
      • Integrate using planning documentation, resource specific studies, corridor/feasibility studies as part of the Revised Environmental Process Framework
    B. Planning and Environmental Linkages
  • 10.
    • What needs to be accomplished (continued)
      • Continue to identify and conduct resource specific studies
      • Conduct a webinar on the resource specific studies
      • ENV will continue to work with TPP, FHWA and MPOs
    B. Planning and Environmental Linkages
  • 11. C. Expanding Use of Programmatic Type Agreements
    • Purpose
      • Establish expectations and agreement
      • Establish criteria and thresholds that provide more predictability in project review and coordination
      • May result in TxDOT certifying for compliance
      • Will result in more predictability in reviews and approvals by approving agency
      • Increases effectiveness, efficiency and predictability
  • 12.
    • What has been accomplished
      • TxDOT has 27 Programmatic Type Agreements
    C. Expanding Use of Programmatic Type Agreements
  • 13.
    • PCE w/FHWA
    • MOU w/THC
    • PA w/ SHPO & FWHA
    • 3 MBI (wetlands)
    • MOU w/TPWD
    • MOA w/TPWD (habitat)
    • MOA w/TPWD (NDD)
    • PAFBE w/USFWS & FHWA
    • 14 PAs w/Tribes & FHWA
    • MOU w/ TCEQ
    • IAC w/ TCEQ (WPAP)
    • Emergency Procedures w/USACE
    C. Expanding Use of Programmatic Type Agreements
    • What has been accomplished (continued)
      • List of agreements in place:
  • 14. C. Expanding Use of Programmatic Type Agreements
    • What has been accomplished (continued)
      • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with THC and Programmatic Agreement (PA) with State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) & FHWA
        • Establishes staff and reporting standards
        • Establishes review thresholds and review time (20 days)
        • Allows for completing certain activities: after NEPA, before construction, during construction or within a certain timeframe
        • Allows ENV CRM staff to approve certain projects
        • Allows ENV CRM staff (in lieu of FHWA) to coordinate projects with SHPO
  • 15.
    • What needs to be accomplished
      • Several other agreements are in development or being updated
    C. Expanding Use of Programmatic Type Agreements
  • 16. D. Expanding Use of In-Lieu Fee and Mitigation Banking
    • Purpose
      • The permitting process is a major component of project development and delivery
      • These types of efforts establish expectations and agreement for mitigation at a program level
      • Save time
      • Increase predictability
      • Expedite project permitting and other approvals by approving agency
  • 17.
    • What has been accomplished
      • Three TxDOT Mitigation Banking Instruments (MBI)
      • Private mitigation banks
      • Local government habitat conservation plans
      • In-lieu fee programs
      • Ecological
      • Texas Environmental Resource Stewards (TERS)
      • Task Force on Economic Growth and Endangered Species
    D. Expanding Use of In-Lieu Fee and Mitigation Banking
  • 18. D. Expanding Use of In-Lieu Fee and Mitigation Banking
    • What has been accomplished (continued)
      • Three Mitigation Banking Instruments
        • Establishes criteria for using banks for mitigating impacts to wetlands
        • Criteria includes demonstrating avoidance/minimization
        • Project must be within certain watersheds
  • 19.
    • What needs to be accomplished
      • Need to advance the concept of stacking
      • Need to finalize the SOP for completing a Section 7 process under Endangered Species Act (ESA) while using a Section 10 regional Habitat Conservation Plan (rHCP)
      • Complete a Section 7 project using an rHCP (underway)
      • Complete a Section 10 project using an rHCP (underway)
      • Continue to work through issues with TERS and Task Force on Economic Growth and Endangered Species
      • Continue to promote and implement Ecological
    D. Expanding Use of In-Lieu Fee and Mitigation Banking
  • 20. E. Enhanced Technical Assistance Ongoing EISs
    • Purpose
      • FHWA teams will focus on facilitating interagency coordination;
      • Collaboration to resolve outstanding issues;
      • Provide peer–to–peer activities, workshops, training, or specialized on–site assistance and
      • Establish criteria and thresholds that streamline project review and coordination
  • 21.
    • What has been accomplished
      • Ongoing meetings between FHWA, districts and ENV for various projects
      • Interim One and Done Policy implemented
      • Districts and ENV informally coordinating the development of project schedules with FHWA
      • Common Comments September 2010 VTC and October 2010 Webinar
      • 11/29/10 Partnering Workshop
      • Draft of Revised Environmental Process Framework
    E. Enhanced Technical Assistance Ongoing EISs
  • 22. E. Enhanced Technical Assistance Ongoing EISs
    • What has been accomplished (continued)
      • One and Done Policy Intent
        • Promote Quality/Minimize Back and Forth
        • What Generates Comments
          • Missing information/Incomplete information
          • Conclusionary statements
          • Old data
          • Inconsistency in data
          • Poor quality
        • Comments Will be Categorized
          • Editorial/Substantive/Critical
        • Critical Comments Must Be Addressed/Automatic Meeting
        • Refer to Common Comments Document
        • Technical Assistance upon Request
  • 23. E. Enhanced Technical Assistance Ongoing EISs
    • What has been accomplished (continued)
      • Revised Environmental Process Framework
        • Environmental risk screening assessment
        • Including, gathering planning documentation, resource specific studies and corridor/feasibility studies
        • Environmental Compliance Action Plan (EPMP)
        • Technical reports and that are used to develop the NEPA documentation
        • The process promotes environmental planning and quality planning
  • 24.
    • What needs to be accomplished
      • Need to finalize and distribute Common Comments
      • Revise and formally distribute Interim One and Done policy
      • Need to formalize meeting minutes, including spelling out action items, who is doing what, agreement on minutes
      • Measure quality of documents based on comments received by FHWA
    E. Enhanced Technical Assistance Ongoing EISs
  • 25.
    • What needs to be accomplished (continued)
      • Need to implement Revised Environmental Process Framework and related criteria, SOUs, SOPs and outreach to educate
      • Need to formally coordinate the development of project schedules with FHWA. SOP will be developed based on 11/29/10 Partnering Workshop
      • Need to work with FHWA to get copies of USACOE floodway projects
      • Pursue an agreement with the USACOE regarding 208/408 reviews
    E. Enhanced Technical Assistance Ongoing EISs
  • 26. F. Legal Sufficiency Enhancements
    • Purpose
      • Consult with FHWA environmental attorneys at early decision points to avoid problems later, saving time and costs.
  • 27.
    • What has been accomplished
      • ENV includes reviews by OGC and outside counsel on certain projects
    • What needs to be accomplished
      • Monitor effectiveness of involving OGC and outside counsel based on FHWA comments
    F. Legal Sufficiency Enhancements
  • 28. G. Flexibilities in Right-of-Way
    • Purpose
      • Improved coordination of Right-of-Way (ROW) activities with other key project development actions (including NEPA)
      • Stay within existing regulations and statutes
  • 29.
    • What has been accomplished
      • 43 TAC Chapter 2 provides for donation; hardship; demonstrated corridor preservation; options
      • Research 5478-1 Identifying Right-of-Way Requirements During the Project Development Process included environmental process type information that would assist in streamlining the right of way process
      • Have processed several environmental documents for parcel specific advance acquisitions including options
      • Jointly developed guidance on advance ROW acquisitions (Environmental Guidance Regarding Early Right-of-Way Acquisition)
      • ENV has developed SOUs regarding advance ROW acquisition
      • Environmental Tracking System (ETS) provides estimator based on the number of parcels needed and lead time needed to complete NEPA
      • Needed parcels is considered in priority framework for ENV project reviews
    G. Flexibilities in Right-of-Way
  • 30. G. Flexibilities in Right-of-Way
    • What has been accomplished (continued)
      • The related SOUs for CEs are available at: ftp://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/env/standards_uniformity.pdf
        • See chapters 17 and 18.
        • This is the quickest way to determine what should be analyzed and reflected in the CE document.
        • The requirements of these chapters would not differ for any NEPA classification.
        • Chapter 17 deals with CEs prepared to acquire ROW prior to construction.
        • Chapter 18 deals with projects incorporating ROW that has already been acquired.
  • 31.
    • What needs to be accomplished (continued)
      • ENV is developing an SOU and an SOP on easements
      • ENV is developing an SOU and an SOP on utility adjustments
    G. Flexibilities in Right-of-Way
  • 32. Every Day Counts
    • TxDOT is committed to working with our local government/state/federal resource agencies and consultant partners to make more effective and efficient these processes while ensuring compliance with all applicable state and federal environmental laws, rules and regulations.
    • Every Day Counts!