Review of U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Study on Implementation of Changes to the Section 4(f) Process: September 15, 2011, Letter Report
The TRB Committee for a Review of U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Study on Implementation of Changes to the Section 4(f) Process has delivered its third and final letter report to the USDOT. The report explores the results of the committee’s review of whether the findings and conclusions of the USDOT’s draft Phase II report are supported by evidence presented in the report. The letter report also includes the committee’s recommendations for improving the draft Phase II report.
Legal rulings and regulations pursuant to Section 4(f) of U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966 set high standards for protecting parks, recreation areas, wildlife refuges, and historic properties from being adversely affected by transportation projects. The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) requires the USDOT to streamline the Section 4(f) evaluation process and to study the consequences of these regulatory changes.
The USDOT is conducting the mandated study in two phases. Phase I examined how the de minimis provision has been applied since it was enacted in August 2005. It also describes the feasible and prudent avoidance alternative standard and reviews the process used to develop the final rule. The Phase I draft was completed in mid-December 2008. Phase II of the study focuses on evaluating implementation of the feasible and prudent avoidance alternative standard and on updating and extending the evaluation of the de minimis impact provision.
In accordance with the USDOT‘s two-phase study, TRB carried out its independent review in three stages. In the first stage, the TRB committee reviewed the USDOT‘s Phase I draft study plans and provided a letter report in June 2008 documenting the committee‘s evaluation. In the second stage, documented in the second letter report provided in April 2009, the TRB committee reviewed the draft Phase I study report and evaluated the draft study plan for Phase II. The third letter report reviews the draft Phase II report and assesses whether the findings and conclusions are supported by evidence presented in the report.
This Summary Last Modified On: 3/23/2016