Opportunity to Comment - Programmatic Agreement
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Opportunity to Comment - Programmatic Agreement

Purpose: TxDOT invites the public to submit comments on a draft programmatic agreement (PA) extending its role as the delegated lead on compliance under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Streamlined implementation of this role would be governed by a PA recently negotiated between our agency, the Texas Historical Commission, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the Federal Highway Administration. For additional information on how TxDOT handles its regulatory responsibilities for archeological and historical issues, see our guidance on planning for transportation projects that may affect historic properties in your community.
Description: Please review the draft programmatic agreement. You may submit comments online or by mail to the address below:

Director, Cultural Resources Management
Environmental Affairs Division
Texas Department of Transportation
125 E. 11th St.
Austin, TX 78701


Why create the PA?
The PA describes how TxDOT will handle its regulatory responsibilities for archeological and historical issues. The proposed draft would be the third version of this PA since 1995. The PAs have evolved as TxDOT and the other signatories have reconsidered how to most effectively meet those regulatory responsibilities. With each agreement, the signatories reach an understanding about streamlining the process to allow greater focus on avoiding and minimizing impacts to historic properties. This PA focuses on ordinary projects for which streamlining solutions can be predictably and appropriately applied.

Who developed the PA?
The initial development resulted from consultation between TxDOT and the Texas Historical Commission staff. Their close working relationship facilitated the resolution of many coordination issues. Both the ACHP and FHWA made detailed comments on earlier drafts. TxDOT has addressed those comments in the draft presented here.

What are the goals for the PA?

  • To formalize TxDOT’s assumption of FHWA’s responsibilities under Section 106, except for formal consultation with federally-recognized tribes
  • To streamline the compliance process for routine, uncontroversial undertakings, based on analyses of two decades of cooperation between TxDOT and the THC
  • To improve the efficacy of consultation when projects may impact resources of concern to potential consulting parties
  • To create greater transparency to how TxDOT conducts its project review and consultation

How will the PA help address difficult issues based on past experiences?
Past coordination between TxDOT and THC indicate that the vast majority (about 90%) of projects posed minor or routine issues for historic properties. In the rare instances when difficult issues arose, TxDOT resolved them by working with appropriate consulting parties through the ordinary consultation process. From these experiences, TxDOT has found that a PA should make routine or simple issues as easy to address as possible. A program-level PA is unlikely to be able to effectively address very complex issues. The best way to address such issues is through a commitment to effective consultation, and TxDOT believes that this commitment is reflected in the PA procedures.

Deadline: March 2, 2015
Contact: Director of Cultural Resources Management
(512) 416-2628