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Screening and Framework Considerations for a PEL Approach

December 15, 2021

Ted Devens and Marjorie Kirby discuss how DOTs can apply these key concepts for Planning and Environment Linkages projects in Environmental Analysis

By Ted Devens, Marjorie Kirbie, Jeff Simmons

PEL was first conceptualized in the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA-LU), and then embodied in 2007 federal planning regulations. PEL application was further clarified in 2012 with passage of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) as US Code, and then significantly strengthened in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (aka, the FAST Act) within 23 USC 168.

The FAST Act strengthened PEL by:

  • Establishing that “Planning Products” from the Transportation Planning Process are legitimate and should rightfully be incorporated into the environmental review process (ERP) conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), and;
  • Providing a process by which the Lead Federal Agency and certain other “Relevant” Agencies may adopt or incorporate by reference planning product decisions to use during the ERP.

Read the full article in Environmental Analysis.

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