State Legislation. States also may adopt legislation establishing transportation policies and priorities, which may provide input to the development of the purpose and need for transportation projects. For example, a state legislature may establish plans or policies calling for the development of a statewide highway network to support economic development, or calling for the incorporation of pedestrian and bicycle facilities into certain types of road construction projects. It is important to recognize, however, that state legislation cannot override Federal requirements. Therefore, while state legislation can contribute to development of the purpose and need, the Federal lead agency will nonetheless exercise independent judgment in determining whether those state goals are compatible with Federal law. The same considerations would apply with regard to local ordinances.
Transportation Planning. As discussed in the Background Briefing, the transportation planning process can and should shape the definition of the purpose and need in the NEPA process and may also be used to limit the range of alternatives considered in the NEPA process. The transportation planning process can contribute in several ways, including:
• defining overall policies for the state or metropolitan transportation system, such as a policy of reducing congestion, increasing transit ridership, or expanding tolling;
• defining the complementary roles of different modes within the transportation system, potentially including specific corridors within which individual modal improvements will be made;
• establishing performance measures and performance targets (e.g., for congestion and safety), which can be used as benchmarks for determining the need for transportation improvements;
• designating specific projects as priorities for the state or region;
• designating the funding sources to be used for individual projects (e.g., tolling);
• establishing economic development and growth priorities, which may shape travel forecasts;
• developing regional travel demand forecasts, which may help to identify and support the need for individual projects; and
• developing a preliminary purpose and need for individual projects.
Taking advantage of these opportunities requires close cooperation between practitioners involved in the transportation planning and environmental review processes. During the planning process, environmental practitioners can be engaged to consider in advance the opportunities that may exist to adopt transportation planning products for use in subsequent NEPA processes for individual projects. Then, when the NEPA process is about to begin, planners can be engaged to ensure that the NEPA team is aware of the relevant planning products and can make an informed decision about which planning products are appropriate for adoption in the NEPA process.
2 I Determining and Documenting the Need for the Project.AASHTO PG 07 pdf download.