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Regulatory Compliance on Multistate and Multimodal Projects: Bridging the Gaps Between States and Among NEPA Co-leads

  • Heather, Gundersen
  • Jeff, Heilman
Published Article
Publication Date
May 19, 2007
Road Ecology Center John Muir Institute of the Environment
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The I-5 Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project is a highway and transit project located on Interstate 5 (I-5) along a five mile corridor between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon. Spanning two states, cities and counties, the CRC project has many different jurisdictional boundaries that can include different ideologies, requirements, and established practices. Two Metropolitan Planning Organizations and transit organizations also play a primary role for the transit side. In total, the project has eight project sponsors, including the Oregon and Washington Departments of Transportation. The project includes both major highway and major transit elements, and therefore two federal lead agencies – the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) – jointly oversee the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The federal co-lead status for developing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) often presents challenges that will be discussed. On the regulatory side there are obvious complications from the bi-state nature of the project because each state has its own regulations and policies that can be inconsistent and sometimes contradictory to the other. The purpose of this paper is to explain the CRC approach to environmental streamlining for the NEPA process and the lessons learned that could apply to complex or even smaller transportation projects

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