State assumption of responsibilities for certain programs and projects
Assumption of Secretary’s Responsibilities Under Applicable Federal Laws.—
The Secretary may establish a pilot program under which States may assume the responsibilities of the Secretary under any Federal laws subject to the requirements of this section.
In the first 3 fiscal years following the date of enactment of the SAFETEA–LU, the Secretary may allow up to 5 States to participate in the pilot program.
First 3 fiscal years.—
Scope of program.—
Under the pilot program, the Secretary may assign, and a State may assume, any of the Secretary’s responsibilities (other than responsibilities relating to federally recognized Indian tribes) for environmental reviews, consultation, or decisionmaking or other actions required under any Federal law as such requirements apply to the following projects:
Projects funded under section 104(h).
Transportation enhancement activities under section 133, as such term is defined in section 101(a)(35).1
The Secretary shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with a State participating in the pilot program setting forth the responsibilities to be assigned under subsection (a)(2) and the terms and conditions under which the assignment is being made.
Before the Secretary enters into a memorandum of understanding with a State under paragraph (1), the State shall certify that the State has in effect laws (including regulations) applicable to projects carried out and funded under this title and chapter 53 of title 49 that authorize the State to carry out the responsibilities being assumed.
A memorandum of understanding with a State under this section shall be established for an initial period of no more than 3 years and may be renewed by mutual agreement on a periodic basis for periods of not more than 3 years.
After entering into a memorandum of understanding under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall review and determine compliance by the State with the memorandum of understanding.
The Secretary shall take into account the performance of a State under the pilot program when considering renewal of a memorandum of understanding with the State under the program.
A State that assumes responsibility under subsection (a)(2) with respect to a Federal law shall be solely responsible and solely liable for complying with and carrying out that law, and the Secretary shall have no such responsibility or liability.
In a memorandum of understanding, the State shall consent to accept the jurisdiction of the Federal courts for the compliance, discharge, and enforcement of any responsibility of the Secretary that the State assumes.
Acceptance of jurisdiction.—
Selection of States for Pilot Program.—
To be eligible to participate in the pilot program, a State shall submit to the Secretary an application that contains such information as the Secretary may require. At a minimum, an application shall include—
a description of the projects or classes of projects for which the State seeks to assume responsibilities under subsection (a)(2); and
a certification that the State has the capability to assume such responsibilities.
Before entering into a memorandum of understanding allowing a State to participate in the pilot program, the Secretary shall—
publish notice in the Federal Register of the Secretary’s intent to allow the State to participate in the program, including a copy of the State’s application to the Secretary and the terms of the proposed agreement with the State; and
provide an opportunity for public comment.
The Secretary may approve the application of a State to assume responsibilities under the program only if—
the requirements under paragraph (2) have been met; and
the Secretary determines that the State has the capability to assume the responsibilities.
Before assigning to a State a responsibility of the Secretary that requires the Secretary to consult with another Federal agency, the Secretary shall solicit the views of the Federal agency.
Other federal agency views.—
With respect to the recreational trails program, the term “State” means the State agency designated by the Governor of the State in accordance with section 206(c)(1).
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the requirements under any applicable law providing for the consideration and preservation of the public interest, including public participation and community values in transportation decisionmaking.
Preservation of Public Interest Consideration.—
(Added Pub. L. 109–59, title VI, § 6003(a), Aug. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 1865.)