Environmental Provisions in Surface Transportation Reauthorization Legislation Proposed During the 108th Congress Page: 4 of 19
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Environmental Provisions in Surface
Transportation Reauthorization Legislation
Proposed During the 108th Congress
This report discusses significant legislative provisions regarding environmental
issues in bills, passed by both the House and the Senate during the 108th Congress,
that would have reauthorized surface transportation programs for FY2004-FY2009.
These programs involve federal highway, highway safety, and transit programs
undertaken by the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT's) Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The Senate bill
(S. 1072), the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act
of 2003 (SAFETEA), passed on February 12, 2004. The House passed its bill (H.R.
3550), the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (TEA-LU), on April 2,
2004. Neither bill was enacted before the 108th Congress adjourned. However, it is
anticipated that the environmental issues of concern to Members of the 108th
Congress will again be addressed in reauthorization legislation that will be proposed
during the 109th Congress.
During the reauthorization process, certain environmental issues garnered
significant attention from both Members of Congress and interested stakeholders
(e.g., state transportation agencies, transportation construction organizations, and
environmental groups). This attention was due to both the impact that surface
transportation projects can have on the environment and the impact that compliance
with environmental requirements can have on project delivery.
Both the House and Senate bills included many provisions that relate to the
environment. Generally, the provisions would have done one of the following:
authorized funding to eliminate, control, mitigate, or minimize regulated
environmental impacts associated with a surface transportation program or project;
or specified procedures required to be undertaken to comply with certain
environmental requirements. In particular, both bills included provisions that would
have changed the procedures DOT would be required to follow to comply with the
Clean Air Act and NEPA.
Authorization legislation for FY1998-FY2003, the Transportation Equity Act
for the 21St Century (TEA-21, P.L. 105-178), expired on September 30, 2003. In
accordance with a series of extension bills, all existing surface transportation
programs continue to operate according to provisions of TEA-21 while Congress
considers reauthorization proposals. The most recent extension, the Surface
Transportation Extension Act of 2004, Part V (H.R. 5183), extended funding for
surface transportation programs through May 31, 2005. It is likely that any
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Environmental Provisions in Surface Transportation Reauthorization Legislation Proposed During the 108th Congress, report, December 8, 2004; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc819565/m1/4/: accessed November 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.