DOT Streamlines Environmental Review Process to Improve Efficiency

For the first time in 25 years, the environmental review process for major transit projects has been adjusted to improve speed.

Speeding up important transportation projects, the Department of Transportation has revised the environmental review process that the federal government uses for project approval. The Federal Transit Administration announced the first revisions to the process in 25 years, aligning with President Obama’s statements on cutting the red tape hindering swift government action.

The focus of the improvements is on to the environmental review process.

“This Administration is committed to clearing the way for communities to invest in transit options that revitalize neighborhoods and improve access to jobs and critical destinations,” said Secretary LaHood in a DOT statement. “These improvements expedite our environmental review process to move projects through the pipeline more quickly, while preserving critical community input on how planned transit projects affect the local environment.”

These changes will have a major impact on the New England areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. The new environment review provisions will allow emergency relief funds to be more readily available and accessible to replace and repair damaged transit assets.

Transit planners will now be encouraged to take environmental factors into consideration sooner, in an effort avoid delays. The amount of documentation and paperwork will be streamlined to make the process more efficient.

“The FTA is continuing to find ways to make our government work smarter on behalf of the American people by cutting inefficiency wherever we find it,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff in a DOT statement. “These common-sense changes will allow communities to move projects from the drawing board to construction more quickly than in the past while making sure that we don’t compromise on protecting the environment.”

More information about the changes can be found on the DOT website.

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