National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Assignment Documentation
The Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (23 U.S. Code 327) allows the Secretary of Transportation to assign and a state to assume the Secretary's responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental laws for highway projects. This program is called NEPA assignment. NEPA assignment streamlines the federal environmental review process by eliminating Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) project-specific review and approval, and provides a participating state specific review and approval authority.
NEPA assignment is subject to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that is renewable every five years. TxDOT officially entered the program on Dec. 16, 2014. On Dec. 9, 2019, FHWA signed a first renewed MOU extending TxDOT’s participation in the NEPA assignment program for an additional five years.
The assigned responsibilities are subject to the same procedural and substantive requirements as previously applied to FHWA. Therefore, under NEPA assignment, TxDOT is responsible for complying with all applicable federal environmental laws and FHWA NEPA regulations, policies and guidance. Further, TxDOT is legally responsible and liable for decisions made under NEPA assignment. The assignment program does not preempt or interfere with any power, jurisdiction, responsibility or authority of an agency, excluding FHWA, under applicable law and regulations.
TxDOT has seen overall project development improvements through being part of the NEPA assignment program. Some of the highlights include:
- Faster environmental review and approval times
- Improved program guidance, policies and procedures
- Improved understanding of the process for agencies, local governments and the public
- Improved training program
- Improved program efficiencies
- Greater accountability through internal monitoring and FHWA program audits
For more information email the Environmental Affairs Division.