The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Federal Highway Administration recently signed a memorandum of understanding that gives the ADOT environmental review authority and responsibility for certain projects.
According to the ADOT, the agreement allows for the department to review projects found to not have significant environmental impacts and applies to projects known as "categorical exclusions." The ADOT says the move recognizes that on their own, states can comply with federal environmental requirements and process more efficiently.
“Gov. [Doug] Ducey has challenged state agencies to eliminate red tape and work at the speed of business, and this agreement allows ADOT to accomplish both,” ADOT state engineer and deputy director for transportation Dallas Hammit said in a press release. “We can manage projects more efficiently while continuing to meet strict environmental requirements.”
According to the ADOT, "categorical exclusions" include projects that do not significantly impact air, noise or water quality, natural, cultural, recreational, historic or other resources. The exclusions also include projects that might affect planned growth, land use or travel patterns and must not require relocating significant numbers of people.
States including Alaska, California, Florida, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas and Utah have also come to similar agreements with the FHA.