Florida will save both time and money on federally funded highway projects under an environmental review agreement approved today by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). There will be savings of approximately $22 million per year.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed in Orlando by FDOT Secretary Jim Boxold and FHWA Administrator Gregory Nadeau last week, assigns FHWA’s responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for federally funded highway projects to FDOT.
“FDOT expects significant time and cost savings as a result of this landmark agreement,” FDOT Secretary Jim Boxold said. “That’s good news for Florida’s families since a critical road improvement project can now be delivered to the public quicker and less costly.”
“This MOU is more than a document,” Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. “It’s a symbol of the innovative partnership we are building with the Florida DOT, and an important tool that empowers states without sacrificing our federal oversight responsibilities for the environment.”
Federally funded highway projects take longer to complete the environmental review process when compared to state funded highway projects. FDOT estimates it will save about 25% of the time it takes to process NEPA documents by FHWA. According to officials, this translates into a savings of approximately $22 million per year.
California, Texas and Ohio currently have this assignment from FHWA.
Under NEPA assignment, FDOT will be legally responsible for ensuring that all federally funded highway projects continue to comply with all aspects of NEPA prior to approving any related NEPA documents.