Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program; Arizona Department of Transportation Final FHWA Audit Report

CourtFederal Highway Administration
Citation86 FR 61381
Record Number2021-24215
Published date05 November 2021
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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
Waiver of Aeronautical Land Use
Assurance: Wellington Municipal
Airport (EGT), Wellington, KS
AGENCY
: Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA), Transportation
(DOT).
ACTION
: Notice of intent of waiver with
respect to land use change from
aeronautical to non-aeronautical.
SUMMARY
: The Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) is considering a
proposal from the City of Wellington,
KS, to release a 0.01 acre parcel of land
from the federal obligation dedicating it
to aeronautical use and to authorize this
parcel to be used for revenue-producing,
non-aeronautical purposes.
DATES
: Comments must be received on
or before December 6, 2021.
ADDRESSES
: Comments on this
application may be mailed or delivered
to the FAA at the following address:
Amy J. Walter, Airports Land Specialist,
Federal Aviation Administration,
Airports Division, ACE–620G, 901
Locust, Room 364, Kansas City, MO
64106.
In addition, one copy of any
comments submitted to the FAA must
be mailed or delivered to: Matt Wiebe,
Airport Manager, Wellington Municipal
Airport, 317 S. Washington, Wellington,
KS 67152, (620) 440–2213.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
:
Amy J. Walter, Airports Land Specialist,
Federal Aviation Administration,
Airports Division, ACE–620G, 901
Locust Room 364, Kansas City, MO
64106, Telephone number (816) 329–
2603, Fax number (816) 329–2611,
email address: amy.walter@faa.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
: The FAA
invites public comment on the request
to change a 0.01 acre parcel of airport
property at the Wellington Municipal
Airport (EGT) from aeronautical use to
non-aeronautical for revenue producing
use. This parcel will be leased to a GKN
Aerospace Precision Machining, a
current tenant, to construct a 25 ft. x 25
ft. storm shelter.
No airport landside or airside
facilities are presently located on this
parcel, nor are airport developments
contemplated in the future. There is no
current use of the surface of the parcel.
The parcel will serve as a revenue
producing lot with the proposed change
from aeronautical to non-aeronautical.
The request submitted by the Sponsor
meets the procedural requirements of
the Federal Aviation Administration
and the change to non-aeronautical
status of the property does not and will
not impact future aviation needs at the
airport. The FAA may approve the
request, in whole or in part, no sooner
than thirty days after the publication of
this Notice.
The following is a brief overview of
the request:
The Wellington Municipal Airport
(EGT) is proposing the use release of a
0.01 acre parcel of land from
aeronautical to non-aeronautical. The
use release of land is necessary to
comply with Federal Aviation
Administration Grant Assurances that
do not allow federally acquired airport
property to be used for non-aviation
purposes. The rental of the subject
property will result in the land at the
Wellington Municipal Airport (EGT)
being changed from aeronautical to non-
aeronautical use and release the lands
from the conditions of the Airport
Improvement Program Grant Agreement
Grant Assurances. In accordance with
49 U.S.C. 47107(c) (2) (B) (i) and (iii),
the airport will receive fair market
rental value for the property. The
annual income from rent payments will
generate a long-term, revenue-producing
stream that will further the Sponsor’s
obligation under FAA Grant Assurance
number 24, to make the Wellington
Municipal Airport as financially self-
sufficient as possible.
Any person may inspect, by
appointment, the request in person at
the FAA office listed above. In addition,
any person may upon request, inspect
the application, notice and other
documents determined by the FAA to be
related to the application in person at
the Wellington Municipal Airport.
Issued in Kansas City, MO, on October 27,
2021.
James A. Johnson,
Director, FAA Central Region, Airports
Division.
[FR Doc. 2021–24195 Filed 11–4–21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910–13–P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Highway Administration
[FHWA Docket No. FHWA–2020–0020]
Surface Transportation Project
Delivery Program; Arizona Department
of Transportation Final FHWA Audit
Report
AGENCY
: Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA), Department of
Transportation (DOT).
ACTION
: Notice.
SUMMARY
: The Moving Ahead for
Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–
21) established the Surface
Transportation Project Delivery Program
that allows a State to assume FHWA’s
environmental responsibilities for
environmental review, consultation, and
compliance under the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for
Federal highway projects. When a State
assumes these Federal responsibilities,
the State becomes solely responsible
and liable for carrying out the
responsibilities it has assumed, in lieu
of FHWA. This program mandates
annual audits during each of the first
four years of State participation to
ensure compliance with program
requirements. This is the first audit of
the Arizona Department of
Transportation’s (ADOT) performance of
its responsibilities under the Surface
Transportation Project Delivery Program
(NEPA Assignment Program). This
notice finalizes the first audit report for
ADOT.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
: Mr.
Neel Vanikar, Office of Project
Development and Environmental
Review, (202) 366–2068, neel.vanikar@
dot.gov, Federal Highway
Administration, U.S. Department of
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey
Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, or
Mr. Patrick Smith, Office of the Chief
Counsel, (202) 366–1345,
patrick.c.smith@dot.gov, Federal
Highway Administration, U.S.
Department of Transportation, 1200
New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC
20590. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m.
to 4:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time,
Monday through Friday, except Federal
holidays.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
:
Electronic Access
An electronic copy of this notice may
be downloaded from the specific docket
page at www.regulations.gov, from the
Office of the Federal Register’s website
at www.FederalRegister.gov, or from the
Government Publishing Office’s website
at www.GovInfo.gov.
Background
The Surface Transportation Project
Delivery Program, codified at 23 U.S.C.
327, commonly known as the NEPA
Assignment Program, allows a State to
assume FHWA’s environmental
responsibilities for review, consultation,
and compliance for Federal highway
projects. When a State assumes these
Federal responsibilities, the State
becomes solely liable for carrying out
the responsibilities it has assumed, in
lieu of FHWA. The ADOT published its
application for NEPA assumption on
June 29, 2018, and solicited public
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comment. After considering public
comments, ADOT submitted its
application to FHWA on November 16,
2018. The application served as the
basis for developing a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) that identifies the
responsibilities and obligations that
ADOT would assume. The FHWA
published a notice of the draft MOU in
the Federal Register on February 11,
2019, at 84 FR 3275, with a 30-day
comment period to solicit the views of
the public and Federal agencies. After
the close of the comment period, FHWA
and ADOT considered comments and
proceeded to execute the MOU.
Effective April 16, 2019, ADOT assumed
FHWA’s responsibilities under NEPA,
and the responsibilities for NEPA-
related Federal environmental laws
described in the MOU.
Section 327(g) of Title 23, U.S.C.,
requires the Secretary to conduct annual
audits to ensure compliance with the
MOU during each of the first four years
of State participation and, after the
fourth year, monitor compliance. The
FHWA must make the results of each
audit available for public comment.
This notice finalizes the first audit
report for ADOT.
Authority: Section 1313 of Public Law
112–141; Section 6005 of Public Law
109–59; 23 U.S.C. 327; 23 CFR part 773.
Stephanie Pollack,
Acting Administrator, Federal Highway
Administration.
Surface Transportation Project Delivery
Program Final FHWA Audit #1 of the
Arizona Department of Transportation
Executive Summary
This is Audit #1 of the Arizona
Department of Transportation’s (ADOT)
assumption of National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) responsibilities
under the Surface Transportation
Project Delivery Program. Under the
authority of 23 U.S.C. 327, ADOT and
the Federal Highway Administration
(FHWA) executed a memorandum of
understanding (MOU) on April 16,
2019, to memorialize ADOT’s NEPA
responsibilities and liabilities for
Federal-aid highway projects and other
related environmental reviews for
highway projects in Arizona. This 23
U.S.C. 327 MOU covers environmental
review responsibilities for projects that
require the preparation of
environmental assessments (EA),
environmental impact statements (EIS),
and non-designated individual
categorical exclusions. A separate MOU
between FHWA and ADOT, pursuant to
23 U.S.C. 326, authorizes environmental
review responsibilities for other
categorical exclusions (CE). This audit
does not cover the CE responsibilities
and projects assigned to ADOT under
the 23 U.S.C. 326 MOU.
The FHWA conducted an audit of
ADOT’s performance according to the
terms of the MOU March 9–12, 2020.
Prior to the audit, the FHWA audit team
held internal meetings to prepare for an
on-site visit to the Arizona Division and
ADOT offices. Prior to the on-site visit,
the audit team reviewed ADOT’s
environmental manuals and procedures,
NEPA project files, ADOT’s response to
FHWA’s pre-audit information request
(PAIR), and ADOT’s NEPA Assignment
Self-Assessment Report. During the
March 2020 audit, the audit team
conducted interviews with staff from
ADOT Environmental Planning (EP) and
ADOT’s external partners, and prepared
preliminary audit results. The audit
team presented these preliminary
results to ADOT EP leadership on
March 12, 2020.
Overall, the audit team found that
ADOT has carried out the
responsibilities it has assumed
consistent with the intent of the MOU
and ADOT’s application. The ADOT
continues to develop, revise, and
implement procedures and processes
required to deliver its NEPA
Assignment Program. This report
describes several observations and
successful practices. Through this
report, FHWA is notifying ADOT of two
non-compliance observations that
require ADOT to take corrective action.
By addressing the observations in this
report, ADOT will continue to assure
successful program assignment.
Background
The purpose of the audits performed
under the authority of 23 U.S.C. 327 is
to assess a State’s compliance with the
provisions of the MOU as well as all
applicable Federal statutes, regulations,
policies, and guidance. The FHWA’s
review and oversight obligation entails
the need to collect information to
evaluate the success of the NEPA
Assignment Program; to evaluate a
State’s progress toward achieving its
performance measures as specified in
the MOU; and to collect information for
the administration of the NEPA
Assignment Program. This report
summarizes the results of the first audit
in Arizona and ADOT’s progress
towards meeting the program review
objectives identified in the MOU.
Following this audit, FHWA will
conduct three additional annual NEPA
Assignment Program audits in Arizona.
Scope and Methodology
The overall scope of this audit review
is defined both in statute (23 U.S.C. 327)
and the MOU (Part 11). The definition
of an audit is one where an independent
unbiased body makes an official and
careful examination and verification of
accounts and records, especially of
financial accounts. Auditors who have
special training with regard to accounts
or financial records may follow a
prescribed process or methodology in
conducting an audit of those processes
or methods. The FHWA considers its
review to meet the definition of an audit
because it is an unbiased, independent,
official, and careful examination and
verification of records and information
about ADOT’s assumption of
environmental responsibilities.
The audit team consisted of NEPA
subject matter experts (SME) from
FHWA Headquarters and Resource
Center, as well as staff from FHWA’s
Arizona Division. This audit is an
unbiased official action taken by FHWA,
which included an audit team of diverse
composition, and followed an
established process for developing the
review report and publishing it in the
Federal Register.
The audit team reviewed six NEPA
Assignment Program elements: program
management; documentation and
records management; quality assurance/
quality control (QA/QC); performance
measures; legal sufficiency; and
training. The audit team considered
three additional focus areas for this
review: project-level conformity
procedures; Section 4(f) procedures; and
public involvement procedures.
The audit team conducted a careful
examination of ADOT policies,
guidance, and manuals pertaining to
NEPA responsibilities, as well as a
representative sample of ADOT’s project
files. Other documents, such as ADOT’s
PAIR responses and ADOT’s Self-
Assessment Report, also informed this
review. In addition, the audit team
interviewed staff from ADOT EP and
ADOT’s external partners, both in
person and via teleconference.
The timeframe defined for this first
audit includes highway project
environmental approvals completed
between April 16, 2019, and December
31, 2019. During this timeframe, ADOT
completed NEPA approvals and
documented NEPA decision points for
12 projects. Due to the small sample
size, the audit team reviewed all 12
projects. This consisted of four
Individual CEs, one EA with a Finding
of No Significant Impact (FONSI), two
draft EAs, one EA initiated with scoping
completed, one draft EIS, and three EA
re-evaluations.
The PAIR submitted to ADOT
contained 23 questions covering all six
NEPA Assignment Program elements.
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The audit team developed specific
follow-up questions for the on-site
interviews with ADOT staff based on
ADOT responses to the PAIR.
The audit team conducted a total of
17 interviews. Interview participants
included staff from ADOT EP, Arizona
Attorney General’s Office (AGO),
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Region 9, Arizona Game and Fish
Department (AZGFD), Maricopa
Association of Governments (MAG), and
the City of Phoenix.
The audit team compared ADOT
manuals and procedures to the
information obtained during interviews
and project file reviews to determine if
ADOT’s performance of its MOU
responsibilities is in accordance with
ADOT procedures and Federal
requirements. The audit team
documented individual observations
and successful practices during the
interviews and reviews and combined
these under the six NEPA Assignment
Program elements. The audit results are
described below by program element.
Overall Audit Opinion
The audit team found ADOT has
carried out the responsibilities it has
assumed consistent with the intent of
the MOU and ADOT’s application. The
FHWA is notifying ADOT of two non-
compliance observations that require
ADOT to take corrective action. By
addressing the observations cited in this
report, ADOT will continue to assure a
successful program.
Successful Practices and Observations
Successful practices are practices that
the team believes are positive, and
encourages ADOT to consider
continuing or expanding those programs
in the future. The audit team identified
numerous successful practices in this
report.
Observations are items the audit team
would like to draw ADOT’s attention to,
which may improve processes,
procedures, and/or outcomes. The team
identified three observations in this
report.
Non-compliance observations are
instances where the audit team finds the
State is not in compliance or is deficient
with regard to a Federal regulation,
statute, guidance, policy, State
procedure, or the MOU. Non-
compliance may also include instances
where the State has failed to secure or
maintain adequate personnel and/or
financial resources to carry out the
responsibilities they have assumed. The
FHWA expects the State to develop and
implement corrective actions to address
all non-compliance observations. The
audit team identified two non-
compliance observations in this report.
The audit team shared initial results
during the site visit closeout and shared
the draft audit report with ADOT to
provide them the opportunity to clarify
any observation, as needed, and/or
begin implementing corrective actions
to improve the program. The FHWA
will consider actions taken by ADOT to
address these observations as part of the
scope of the second audit.
Successful Practices and Observations
Program Management
Successful Practices
The ADOT EP has developed several
detailed guidance manuals for
implementing NEPA Assignment and
evaluating environmental resources.
These manuals are readily available
online at ADOT’s environmental
website. The ADOT continuously
updates their manuals and has a process
for tracking updates by including a list
of changes as an appendix in each
version. Several staff members stated
they regularly consult the guidance
manuals and are informed of updates.
The ADOT EP has developed internal
procedures for resolving and escalating
conflicts. The ADOT Project
Development Procedures Manual
describes these escalation procedures.
The ADOT has found this to be an
effective tool to assist in evaluating
controversial issues, identifying
appropriate levels of communication,
and determining the best approach for
dispute resolution.
During interviews with staff, the audit
team learned that ADOT EP makes a
considerable effort at internal
communication and coordination
through meetings, emails, and informal
interaction. The staff holds weekly and
monthly meetings for environmental
planners and technical groups to
discuss project issues, address program-
level questions, and update staff on
guidance. Interviewed staff said they
were well-informed about procedures
and comfortable discussing complex
situations with team leads and technical
experts. In addition, ADOT EP attends
partnering/preconstruction meetings
with other ADOT sections to convey
environmental commitments and to stay
informed of project changes.
During interviews, EPA, AZGFD, and
the City of Phoenix commented on
ADOT EP’s collaboration and
communication efforts with them. The
EPA was appreciative of ADOT EP
holding bi-monthly coordination
meetings to discuss the status of projects
and commented on their much-
improved relationship with ADOT. The
AZGFD acknowledged and appreciated
the opportunities to provide input
through the outreach efforts of ADOT
biologists on projects with wildlife
concerns. The City of Phoenix noted
ADOT’s improved communication with
local governments and efforts to
increase flexibility in the environmental
review process. The audit team
recognizes ADOT EP’s outreach efforts
with these external partners. One area
identified by the audit team in need of
improved collaboration is project-level
conformity determinations, where legal
responsibility remains assigned to
FHWA.
Observations
Non-Compliance Observation #1:
Incomplete Project Files Submission
For this audit, pursuant to MOU
Sections 8.2.2 and 8.2.3, FHWA
requested all project files pertaining to
the NEPA approvals and documented
NEPA decision points completed during
the audit review period. The request
specified the approved NEPA document
and all supporting documentation
related to the decision milestones, such
as consultation letters, technical memos,
and resource evaluations (email to
ADOT November 26, 2019). The FHWA
provided additional clarification to
ADOT regarding the types of NEPA
approvals and NEPA decision
documents that ADOT should submit
(email to ADOT December 18, 2019).
The audit team found several
inconsistences between ADOT’s
procedures for maintaining project files
(as identified in the ADOT CE Checklist
Manual, ADOT EA/EIS Manual, ADOT
QA/QC Plan, and ADOT Project
Development Procedures Manual) and
the project file documentation provided
to FHWA. The ADOT’s procedures
specify utilizing a standard folder
structure for all projects and saving all
project documentation and supporting
information in the project files.
However, the project files submitted by
ADOT for this audit were incomplete
and did not include all supporting
documentation. The project files that
ADOT submitted consisted primarily of
final decision documents and, in most
cases, did not include correspondence,
internal communication, technical
memos/reports, or other types of
information to support NEPA decisions
or demonstrate how ADOT evaluated
resources.
The audit team learned during
interviews that ADOT EP management
created a duplicate project file for each
project which consisted of a subset of
their project files. Due to the incomplete
project files, it is unclear how ADOT is
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maintaining electronic project files and
administrative records, and how ADOT
is complying with its procedures and
the terms of the 23 U.S.C. 327 MOU as
they apply to records retention. The
audit team determined that ADOT EP
management made the decision to not
submit all requested project files for
review by FHWA as required by the
MOU (Section 8.2.3). In the last 23
U.S.C. 326 MOU monitoring review,
FHWA observed this same practice and
informed ADOT that such a practice
was in non-compliance with the MOU.
Just as that practice was in non-
compliance with the 23 U.S.C. 326
MOU, this practice is also in non-
compliance with the 23 U.S.C. 327
MOU.
Observation #1: Use of the Federal
Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard
The ADOT is responsible for
inputting project information for
assigned projects into the Federal
Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard, per
MOU Section 8.5.1. During the audit,
the audit team reviewed the Permitting
Dashboard and found that it did not
include information for any of the
applicable projects assigned to ADOT.
The audit team confirmed during
interviews that ADOT has not updated
the dashboard. The audit team
acknowledges that ADOT is working
with FHWA to obtain access to the
dashboard and address this issue.
Documentation and Records
Management
The audit team reviewed 12 projects
as part of this audit. This consisted of
four Individual CEs, one EA with a
FONSI, two draft EAs, one EA initiated
with scoping completed, one draft EIS,
and three EA re-evaluations.
Successful Practices
The ADOT EP has developed several
standard templates (e.g., checklists,
forms, etc.) to document various actions
and decision-points throughout the
NEPA process. These are an effective
tool for ADOT to consistently evaluate
environmental resources and document
decisions. Staff indicated that these
templates have aided in streamlining
the review process and provided
consistency across projects.
Observations
Non-Compliance Observation #2:
Project-Level Conformity Compliance
Issues
The statutory provisions of the NEPA
Assignment Program, along with
Section 3.2.1 of the MOU, prohibit
ADOT from assuming the responsibility
for making conformity determinations
for projects processed under the 23
U.S.C. 327 MOU. However, pursuant to
the Federal transportation conformity
regulations at 40 CFR 93.105(c) and
Section 7.2.1 of the MOU, ADOT and
FHWA Arizona Division can agree on
procedures that allow ADOT to engage
in activities to assist in this process and
establish when and how consultation
with FHWA must occur.
The audit team reviewed ADOT’s
protocols for seeking FHWA’s project-
level conformity determinations,
conducted a focused review of project-
level conformity procedures on six
projects, and interviewed ADOT, MAG,
and EPA staff. The audit team found
that ADOT had not given FHWA a
chance to review and agree on the
protocols and, as a result, the protocols
do not provide for the appropriate
consultation, coordination, and
communication with FHWA and other
agencies, such as EPA and MAG, to
ensure the projects meet the project-
level conformity requirements where
required.
The audit team found documentation
for two projects showing that ADOT
staff did not coordinate with FHWA on
the application of conformity
requirements and, by doing so, ADOT
took actions that were not assigned to
them. This failure to coordinate
prevented FHWA from meeting its
conformity determination
responsibilities. The ADOT incorrectly
concluded that the conformity
requirements did not apply to one of the
two projects because they assumed that
the project would not trigger any FHWA
approvals. The ADOT proceeded to
complete NEPA without FHWA’s
conformity determination. This
deficient approval prevents FHWA from
authorizing the project until the
conformity requirements are met. In
another project, ADOT incorrectly
determined that a widening project was
exempt from project conformity under
40 CFR 93.126.
The audit team found multiple
projects that did not demonstrate
ADOT’s compliance with interagency
consultation requirements, per 40 CFR
93.105. The ADOT appears to have
conducted some degree of interagency
consultation but information on such
consultation was not included in the
project files. Therefore, it is unclear
whether the interagency consultation
agencies had an opportunity to
participate in consultation or if ADOT
provided them an opportunity to review
and comment on the materials as
required by 40 CFR 93.105 and MOU
Section 7.2.1. During interviews, EPA
expressed concerns regarding how
ADOT conducts project-level
interagency consultation. Both EPA and
MAG also felt that the interagency
consultation is not fully transparent
since ADOT does not: (1) Share
comments with all interagency
consultation agencies throughout the
process; (2) provide responses to agency
comments; and (3) consistently follow
up with agencies to ensure their
comments are adequately addressed. In
cases where a project-level conformity
determination is required, the
interagency consultation process must
meet the conformity rule requirements
found in 40 CFR 93.105.
During interviews, ADOT staff did not
demonstrate a full of understanding
project-level conformity requirements.
The audit team identified that ADOT
staff were not aware that: (1) Certain
FHWA approvals (in addition to Federal
funding) may necessitate a project-level
conformity determination; (2) certain
situations may require a
redetermination of project-level
conformity under 40 CFR 93.104(d); (3)
the importance of specific traffic data
requirements for the reviews; and (4) the
public involvement requirements
associated with project-level
conformity.
The lack of agreed-upon interagency
consultation procedures with clear
roles, responsibilities, and coordination
protocols, particularly between ADOT
and FHWA, creates a significant risk of
project schedule delays and, ultimately,
project non-compliance. The ADOT
should revise their procedures to be
consistent with 40 CFR 93.105 and
obtain agreement from FHWA to make
sure the correct workflows are
established, the responsibilities of
FHWA are not curtailed, and that
interagency consultation is transparent.
Until agreed-upon protocols between
FHWA and ADOT are in place, ADOT
should consult with FHWA on all
projects in non-attainment and
maintenance areas to determine if
conformity determination will be
required for the project and the
appropriate interagency consultation
needed.
Observation #2: Inconsistencies and
Deficiencies Based on the Review of
Project File Documentation
The audit team preliminarily
identified several inconsistencies
between ADOT’s procedures for
documenting project decisions (as
identified in the ADOT CE Checklist
Manual, ADOT EA/EIS Manual, ADOT
QA/QC Plan, and ADOT Project
Development Procedures Manual) and
the incomplete project file
documentation provided. Section 4.2.4
of the MOU specifies that ADOT must
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implement documentation procedures
to support appropriate environmental
analysis and decision-making under
NEPA and associated laws and
regulations. The FHWA informed ADOT
EP leadership during the audit week
that project files were incomplete and,
in response, ADOT submitted additional
project files and supporting
documentation. The ADOT was
provided a second opportunity after the
audit week to clarify inconsistences
identified by the audit team and answer
follow-up questions regarding the
project documentation.
After completing the project file
review (including the supplemental
information provided by ADOT), the
audit team identified the following
procedural deficiencies relating to the
MOU and FHWA’s regulations, policies,
and guidance:
One project did not include the
disclosure statement on the DEIS cover
page regarding the intent to combine the
final EIS and record of decision (ROD)
as identified in the January 14, 2013,
interim guidance memorandum on
MAP–21 Section 1319 Accelerated
Decision making in Environmental
Reviews.
One corridor widening project did
not demonstrate independent utility and
logical termini as required in 23 CFR
771.111(f)(1) and 23 CFR 771.111(f)(2).
One project did not demonstrate
that funding for the project is
programmed beyond Fiscal Year 2019
and did not demonstrate that the project
is identified on a current Statewide
Transportation Improvement Program
(STIP) per 23 CFR 771.113(a)(3).
In addition, the audit team found
several inconsistencies between ADOT’s
documentation of Section 4(f)
determinations (as identified in ADOT’s
Section 4(f) procedures and FHWA
Section 4(f) regulation and guidance)
and the project file documentation. Due
to the inadequate information provided,
it is unclear how ADOT is
implementing Section 4(f) and how
ADOT is complying with its Section 4(f)
procedures. The audit team identified
the following inconsistencies in project
files relating to Section 4(f) evaluations
and determinations:
One project included a Section 106
no adverse effect finding and Section
4(f) no use determinations for six
historic properties; however, ADOT did
not provide any information
demonstrating how they evaluated these
resources under Section 4(f), or if they
consulted the officials with jurisdiction
over the resources.
Two projects included a Section
106 finding of either adverse effect or no
adverse effect, indicating the presence
of potential Section 4(f) resources;
however, ADOT did not provide any
information demonstrating how they
evaluated these resources under Section
4(f), or if they had consulted the
officials with jurisdiction over the
resources.
One project included a Section 4(f)
joint development determination but it
is unclear what information ADOT used
to support this determination (such as a
master plan map or other planning
information), or if they consulted the
official with jurisdiction over the
resource regarding potential impacts to
the Section 4(f) resource.
One project included a temporary
occupancy determination and the
description of the impact to the resource
is inconsistent with the definition
provided in 23 CFR 774.13(d)(3).
One project stated that a Section
4(f) resource within the project area is
jointly owned by two entities, but it is
unclear if ADOT consulted with both
officials with jurisdiction regarding the
de minimis use since only one official
with jurisdiction concurred with the de
minimis use.
The audit team acknowledges that
ADOT is aware that implementation of
Section 4(f) is an area in need of
improvement and recognizes their
efforts to update its procedures,
including ADOT recently developing
standard evaluation forms.
Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/
QC)
The audit team verified that ADOT
has procedures in place for QA/QC
which are described in the ADOT QA/
QC Manual and ADOT Project
Development Procedures Manual. The
ADOT has developed QC checklists and
forms to assist in implementing project-
level QC procedures. During the project
file reviews, the audit team noted some
variation in how ADOT implements
project-level QC procedures, and
inconsistencies in how ADOT
documents QC reviews. It was unclear
how ADOT conducts thorough project-
level QC reviews (completeness vs.
accuracy), how ADOT corrects errors it
identifies during QC reviews, and how
the environmental planners coordinate
with technical experts during QC
reviews. Staff indicated during
interviews that informal QC reviews are
often conducted before QC checklists
are completed, though it is unclear how
this process is tracked to ensure
comments are addressed. Due to these
inconsistencies, the audit team was
unable to fully assess the
implementation of project-level QC
procedures. The FHWA will continue to
evaluate this program objective in
subsequent audits.
Performance Measures
Observations
Observation #3: Incomplete
Development and Implementation of
Performance Measures
The audit team reviewed ADOT’s
development and implementation of
performance measures to evaluate their
program as required in the MOU (Part
10.2.1). The ADOT’s QA/QC Plan and
self-assessment report identified several
performance measures but both
indicated that ADOT was still refining
these measures and had not fully
implemented them. The ADOT’s PAIR
response stated that ADOT has focused
on tracking projects for schedule issues
and has not begun gathering data for
other performance measures. The self-
assessment report did not include
reporting data for any of the
performance measures. The audit team
confirmed during staff interviews that
ADOT does not have data for its
performance measures and is looking to
further refine its performance measures.
Due to the lack of performance measure
data, the audit team determined that
ADOT has not fully established and
initiated data collection as it relates to
performance metrics per the MOU.
Legal Sufficiency
Through information provided by
ADOT and an interview by the FHWA
Office of Chief Counsel with an
Assistant Attorney General (AAG)
assigned to ADOT’s NEPA Assignment
program, the auditors determined ADOT
had not conducted formal legal
sufficiency reviews of assigned
environmental documents during the
audit period. Currently, ADOT retains
the services of two AAGs for NEPA
Assignment reviews and related matters.
The assigned AAGs have received
formal and informal training in
environmental law matters. The ADOT
also has the ability to retain outside
counsel to review projects or conduct
litigation should the need arise.
Successful Practice
Through the interview, the audit team
learned ADOT seeks to involve lawyers
early in the environmental review
phase, with AAGs participating in
project coordination team meetings and
reviews of early drafts of environmental
documents. In addition, ADOT and the
AGO have a process in place by which
ADOT can request written legal
opinions and advice from an AAG on
environmental review legal matters. For
formal reviews, the process would
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Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 212 / Friday, November 5, 2021 / Notices
include a formal transmittal memo from
an ADOT environmental manager, a
review package (hard copy or
electronic), and a completed ADOT EA/
EIS Quality Control Checklist.
Training
The audit team reviewed ADOT’s
2020 Training Plan and ADOT’s PAIR
responses pertaining to its training
program. The ADOT’s training program
includes in-house, web-based, and
instructor-led courses training
opportunities for staff. Since assuming
NEPA responsibilities, ADOT has held
several formal training courses and
plans to continue these efforts during
the upcoming year. The ADOT provides
new hires with structured onboarding
training which includes coaching,
mentoring, and collaborative on-the-job
training to facilitate professional
development. The ADOT EP Training
Officer tracks staff training needs and
completion of courses and updates this
document quarterly. Staff remarked
during interviews on the availability of
training offered to them and
opportunities to travel out of State for
specialty technical courses.
Successful Practices
The audit team commends ADOT for
developing a detailed training plan and
committing resources to provide
training opportunities for staff. The
ADOT EP encourages staff to pursue
individual training interests and has
undertaken efforts to ensure staff
maintains professional certifications.
The ADOT EP has developed a web-
based training course for staff as an
introduction to NEPA Assignment. To
further support the training program,
ADOT EP utilizes a dedicated training
coordinator within the environmental
section.
Finalizing This Report
The FHWA published a draft version
of this report in the Federal Register on
December 28, 2020 (85 FR 84454), and
made it available for public review and
comment for 30 days in accordance with
23 U.S.C. 327(g). The FHWA received
two responses to the Federal Register
notice during the public comment
period for the draft report. One
comment was submitted by ADOT. The
nature of ADOT’s comment was
substantially the same as those provided
by ADOT during their preliminary
review of the draft report which were
considered in developing the draft
report. The FHWA considered this
additional comment from ADOT and
determined no changes were needed to
the content of the report since the
comment had been previously
considered in the draft report. The final
version of the audit report reflects
consideration of all of ADOT’s
comments. The second comment from
the American Road and Transportation
Builders Association expressed their
support of the program and did not
require any changes to the content of the
report. This is FHWA’s final version of
the audit report.
The FHWA acknowledges that ADOT
has begun to address some of the
observations identified in this report
and recognizes ADOT’s efforts toward
improving their program. The FHWA
will consider the results of this audit in
preparing the scope of the next annual
audit. The next audit report will include
a summary that describes the status of
ADOT’s corrective and other actions
taken in response to this audit’s
conclusions.
[FR Doc. 2021–24215 Filed 11–4–21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910–22–P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA–2006–26367]
Meetings: Motor Carrier Safety
Advisory Committee (MCSAC); Notice
of Public Meeting
AGENCY
: Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA), Department
of Transportation.
ACTION
: Notice of public meeting.
SUMMARY
: FMCSA announces a meeting
of MCSAC, which will take place via
videoconference.
DATES
: The meeting will be held
Monday and Tuesday, December 6 and
7, 2021, from 9:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,
Eastern Time. Requests for
accommodations because of a disability
must be received by Monday, November
29. Requests to register and/or to submit
written materials to be reviewed during
the meeting must be received no later
than Monday, November 29.
ADDRESSES
: The meeting will be held
via videoconference. Those members of
the public who would like to participate
should go to https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/
advisory-committees/mcsac/meetings to
access the meeting, task statements, a
detailed agenda for the entire meeting,
meeting minutes and additional
information on MCSAC and its
activities. The meeting will be recorded,
and a link to the recording will be
posted on the FMCSA website.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
: Ms.
Shannon L. Watson, Senior Advisor to
the Associate Administrator for Policy,
Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration, U.S. Department of
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey
Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590,
(202) 360–2925, mcsac@dot.gov. Any
MSCAC-related request or submission
should be sent via email to the person
listed in this section.
Information may also be submitted by
docket through Docket Number
FMCSA–2006–26367 using any of the
following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to
http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the
online instructions for submitting
comments.
Fax: 202–493–2251.
Mail: Docket Operations; U.S.
Department of Transportation, 1200
New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12–140,
Washington, DC 20590.
Hand Delivery: Docket Operations,
U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200
New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building,
Room W12–140, Washington, DC,
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., E.T. Monday
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
To be sure someone is there to help you,
please call (202) 366–9317 or (202) 366–
9826 before visiting Docket Operations.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
:
I. Background
Purpose of the Committee
MCSAC was established to provide
FMCSA with advice and
recommendations on motor carrier
safety programs and motor carrier safety
regulations. MCSAC is composed of up
to 25 voting representatives from the
motor carrier safety advocacy, safety
enforcement, labor, and industry
sectors. The diversity of MCSAC
ensures the requisite range of views and
expertise necessary to discharge its
responsibilities. MCSAC operates as a
discretionary committee under the
authority of the U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT), established in
accordance with the provisions of the
Federal Advisory Committee Act
(FACA), as amended (5 U.S.C. app. 2).
Meeting Agenda
MCSAC will resume consideration of
Task 21–1, relating to supply chains for
the transportation industrial base. Task
21–1 includes discussions about
workforce skills for the motor carrier
sector and identified gaps,
opportunities, and potential best
practices in meeting the future
workforce needs and driver retention for
the motor carrier industry. The task also
includes discussions about the role of
transportation systems in supporting
existing supply chains and risks
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