23 CFR § 773.109 - Application requirements.

§ 773.109 Application requirements.

(a)Highway project responsibilities. An eligible State DOT may submit an application to FHWA to participate in the Program for one or more highway projects or classes of highway projects. The application must include:

(1) The highway projects or classes of highway projects for which the State is requesting assumption of Federal environmental review responsibilities under NEPA. The State must specifically identify in its application each highway project for which a draft environmental impact statement has been issued and for which a final environmental impact statement is pending, prior to the submission of its application;

(2) Each Federal environmental law, review, consultation, or other environmental responsibility the State seeks to assume under this Program. The State must indicate whether it proposes to phase-in the assumption of these responsibilities, i.e., initially assuming only some responsibilities with a plan to assume additional responsibilities at specific future times;

(3) For each responsibility requested in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section, the State must describe how it intends to carry out these responsibilities. Such description must include:

(i) A summary of State procedures currently in place to guide the development of documents, analyses, and consultations required to fulfill the environmental review responsibilities requested. For States that have comparable State environmental review procedures, the discussion should describe the differences, if any, between the State environmental review process and the Federal environmental review process, focusing on any standard that is mandated by State law, regulation, executive order, or policy that is not applicable to the Federal environmental review. The State must submit a copy of the procedures with the application unless these are available electronically. The State may submit the procedures electronically, either through email or by providing a hyperlink;

(ii) Any changes that the State has made or will make in the management of its environmental program to provide the additional staff and training necessary for quality control and assurance, appropriate levels of analysis, adequate expertise in areas where the State is requesting responsibilities, and expertise in management of the NEPA process and reviews under other Federal environmental laws;

(iii) A discussion of how the State will conduct legal reviews for the environmental documents it produces, including legal sufficiency reviews where required by law, policy, or guidance;

(iv) A discussion of how the State will identify and address those projects that without assignment would have required FHWA Headquarters' prior concurrence of the final environmental impact statement under 23 CFR 771.125(c); and

(v) A discussion of otherwise permissible project delivery methods the State intends to pursue, and the process it will use to decide whether pursuing those project delivery methods and being responsible for the environmental review meet the objectivity and integrity requirements of NEPA.

(4) A verification of the personnel necessary to carry out the authority that the State may assume under the Program. The verification must contain the following information:

(i) A description of the staff positions, including management, that will be dedicated to fulfilling the additional functions needed to perform the assigned responsibilities;

(ii) A description of any changes to the State's organizational structure that would be necessary to provide for efficient administration of the responsibilities assumed; and

(iii) A discussion of personnel needs that may be met by the State's use of outside consultants, including legal counsel provided by the State Attorney General or private counsel;

(5) A summary of the anticipated financial resources available to meet the activities and staffing needs identified in paragraphs (a)(3) and (4) of this section, and a commitment to make adequate financial resources available to meet these needs;

(6) Certification and explanation by the State's Attorney General, or other State official legally empowered by State law to issue legal opinions that bind the State, that the State has legal authority to assume the responsibilities of the Secretary for the Federal environmental laws and projects requested, and that the State consents to exclusive Federal court jurisdiction with respect to the responsibilities the State is requesting to assume. Such consent must be broad enough to include future changes in relevant Federal policies and procedures or allow for its amendment to include such future changes;

(7) Certification by the State's Attorney General, or other State official legally empowered by State law to issue legal opinions that bind the State, that the State has laws that are comparable to FOIA, including laws that allow for any decision regarding the public availability of a document under those laws to be reviewed by a court of competent jurisdiction;

(8) Evidence that the required notice and solicitation of public comment by the State relating to participation in the Program has taken place and copies of the State's responses to the comments;

(9) A point of contact for questions regarding the application and a point of contact regarding the implementation of the Program (if different); and

(10) The State Governor's (or in the case of District of Columbia, the Mayor's) signature approving the application. For the Secretary's responsibilities with respect to highway projects, the top ranking transportation official in the State who is charged with responsibility for highway construction may sign the application instead of the Governor.

(b)Public transportation project responsibilities. An eligible State may submit an application to FTA to participate in the Program for one or more public transportation projects or classes of public transportation projects. The application must provide the information required by paragraphs (a)(1) through (10) of this section, but with respect to FTA's program and the public transportation project(s) at issue. In addition, the application must include:

(1) Evidence that FHWA has assigned to the State, or the State has requested assignment of the responsibilities of, FHWA with respect to one or more highway projects within the State under NEPA; and

(2) Evidence that any potential recipients of assistance under chapter 53 of title 49 U.S.C. for any public transportation project or classes of public transportation projects in the State being sought for Program assignment have received written notice of the application with adequate time to provide comments on the application.

(c)Railroad project responsibilities. An eligible State may submit an application to FRA to participate in the Program for one or more railroad projects or classes of railroad projects. The application must provide the information required by paragraphs (a)(1) through (10) of this section, but with respect to the railroad project(s) at issue. In addition, the application must include evidence that FHWA has assigned to the State, or the State has requested assignment of, the responsibilities of FHWA with respect to one or more highway projects within the State under NEPA.

(d)Multimodal project responsibilities. The Operating Administration(s) will presume that the responsibilities sought by the State include the Secretary's environmental review responsibilities for multimodal projects' elements that would otherwise fall under the Operating Administration's authority. These responsibilities include establishing appropriate relationships with the other Operating Administration(s) involved in the multimodal project, including cooperating agency, participating agency, and lead or co-lead agency relationships under NEPA. The State must affirmatively reject multimodal environmental review responsibilities in its application if it intends to have the responsibilities remain with the Operating Administration when a multimodal project is involved. In addition, States may:

(1) Request the Secretary's environmental review responsibilities with respect to the highway, railroad, and/or public transportation elements of one or more particular multimodal projects by submitting an application with the information required in paragraphs (a)(1) through (10) of this section, but with respect to the multimodal project(s) at issue. The application must either request highway responsibilities for the multimodal project or include evidence that FHWA has assigned to the State, or the State has requested assignment of, the responsibilities of FHWA with respect to one or more highway projects within the State under NEPA; and

(2) Request, at the same time the State applies for assignment of one of the Operating Administration's environmental review responsibilities, the general multimodal environmental review responsibilities of the other Operating Administration(s).

(e)Electronic submissions. Applications may be submitted electronically to the appropriate Operating Administration.

(f)Joint application. A State may submit joint applications for multiple Operating Administrations' responsibilities. A joint application should avoid redundancies and duplication of information to the maximum extent practicable. In its application, the State must distinguish the projects or classes of projects it seeks to assume by transportation mode. A joint application must provide all of the information required by each Operating Administration for which a State is seeking assignment. A State must submit joint applications to FHWA.

(g)Requests for additional information. The appropriate Operating Administration(s) may request that the State provide additional information to address any deficiencies in the application or clarifications that may be needed prior to determining that the application is complete.