The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) issued a press release Aug. 31 to announce that it has signed a new five-year cooperative agreement with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to continue the Center for Environmental Excellence.
The release said that the agreement will “advance a strategic national program to maximize efficiency, reliability, and consistency in delivering environmentally sound transportation projects, programs, and services.”
Authorized by Congress through the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, the new cooperative agreement continues the partnership between AASHTO and FHWA that provides a forum to promote and support a strategic national program for environmental excellence in surface transportation, according to the press release.
“The traveling public expects transportation projects that not only improve mobility, but also protect and preserve the environment and help create healthy and vibrant communities,” said Bud Wright AASHTO’s executive director. “The Center gives transportation providers access to the tools they need to make environmental stewardship part of their mission and everyday activities.”
The press release noted that the Center was established in 2001 by AASHTO and FHWA to assist state transportation agencies and their partners in incorporating environmental stewardship and sustainability into transportation planning, project development, construction, maintenance, and operations; and to streamline the delivery of transportation programs and projects.
The release said that under the new cooperative agreement, the Center will expand its focus to provide resources and information to cities, counties, metropolitan planning organizations, local planning organizations, other federal and state surface transportation agencies, and surface transportation research organizations.
“FHWA and AASHTO recognize that environmental stewardship plays a key role in the delivery of transportation programs, at all levels of government,” said FHWA administrator Gregory Nadeau. “The Center will engage a wide array of transportation leaders to identify environmental issues, research needs, challenges and opportunities related to transportation and the environment.”
The press release described the Center in developing practitioner-oriented work products that have practical applications. It also facilitates information-sharing, provides technical assistance, and supports partnership building. The Center also offers training, and the development and promotion of effective practices, tools, and innovative techniques.
The Center maintains data archives that cover more than 20 environmental topics and include a library of programmatic agreements, a roadmap for developing and implementing programmatic agreements, a Case Law Updates on Environment database, and the Transportation and Environment Research Ideas database.
For more information: http://environment.transportation.org