Hays County Commissioners Court Approves Resolution in Support of TxDOT Assuming Additional Environmental Responsibilities from the Federal Highway Administration
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – In its ongoing efforts to streamline the process for transportation project approvals, the Hays County Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously approved and signed a resolution supporting the Texas Department of Transportation’s application to assume additional environmental review responsibilities from the federal government for state and local transportation projects.
Congress had previously given TxDOT permission to manage certain categories of environmental review. If its application is approved TxDOT would be allowed to assume the Federal Highway Administration’s responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related laws. TxDOT would manage environmental review, resource agency consultation and other environmental regulatory compliance-related actions pertaining to the review or approval of road projects on the state highway system and most local government projects not on the state system.
“While TxDOT will have to follow the same environmental laws and regulations that FHWA follows on state and local road projects, we believe TxDOT can accomplish the review faster than the federal government, resulting in significant cost savings to the State and local agencies,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley. “We desperately need to accelerate the development and implementation of critically needed transportation infrastructure,” he said, noting that he has gone directly to Washington, D.C., lawmakers in the past to discuss improvements to the turnaround time on environmental reviews handled by the federal agencies.
“It took some seven years to finalize the environmental review on FM 1626, not because of extreme environmental issues, but because of the inefficient way that the review process is handled at the federal level,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones said. “TxDOT has worked closely with the federal government on environmental reviews in the past and we believe the agency is extremely qualified to manage this process to the benefit of taxpayers.”