Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program; Ohio Department of Transportation Audit Report, 17212-17216 [2018-08101]

Download as PDF 17212 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 75 / Wednesday, April 18, 2018 / Notices available for FY 2018, as well as any entitlement funds not obligated from prior years. After Tuesday, July 10, 2018, the FAA will carry over any currently available entitlement funds for which the airport sponsor has not notified the FAA of its intention to use and these funds will not be available again until at least the beginning of FY 2019. This notification requirement does not apply to nonprimary airports covered by the State Block Grant Program. Historically this deadline has been May 1 of each year. Due to the timing of the FY 2018 appropriation and extension of authorizing legislation, the FAA is extending the normal deadline. However, the FAA encourages airport sponsors to communicate with the FAA as soon as possible. Regional offices may establish earlier deadlines due to constraints on construction seasons. Absent notification of the intent to use entitlement funds or submission of a grant application by the relevant deadlines noted above, the FAA will proceed after Tuesday, July 10, 2018, to carry over the remainder of available entitlement funds. These funds will not be available again until at least the beginning of FY 2019. This notice is promulgated to expedite and facilitate the grant-making process. Issued in Washington, DC, on April 6, 2018. Elliott Black, Director, Office of Airport Planning and Programming. [FR Doc. 2018–07658 Filed 4–17–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Highway Administration [FHWA Docket No. FHWA–2018–0009] Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program; Ohio Department of Transportation Audit Report Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice; Request for comment. AGENCY: 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 amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:31 Apr 17, 2018 Jkt 244001 and liable for carrying out the responsibilities it has assumed, in lieu of FHWA. This program mandates annual audits during each of the first 4 years of State participation to ensure compliance with program requirements. This notice announces and solicits comments on the second audit report for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 18, 2018. ADDRESSES: Mail or hand deliver comments to Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. You may also submit comments electronically at www.regulations.gov. All comments should include the docket number that appears in the heading of this document. All comments received will be available for examination and copying at the above address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of comments must include a selfaddressed, stamped postcard or you may print the acknowledgment page that appears after submitting comments electronically. Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments in any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, or labor union). The DOT posts these comments, without edits, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL–14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James G. Gavin, Office of Project Development and Environmental Review, (202) 366–1473, James.Gavin@ dot.gov, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 or Mr. David Sett, Office of the Chief Counsel, (404) 562–3676, david.sett@ dot.gov, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 61 Forsyth Street 17T100, Atlanta, GA 30303. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., e.t., 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. PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Background The Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program, codified at 23 United States Code (U.S.C.) 327, commonly known as the NEPA Assignment Program, allows a State to assume FHWA’s responsibilities for environmental 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 the FHWA. The ODOT published its application for assumption under the NEPA Assignment Program on April 12, 2015, and made it available for public comment for 30 days. After considering public comments, ODOT submitted its application to FHWA on May 27, 2015. The application served as the basis for developing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that identifies the responsibilities and obligations that ODOT would assume. The FHWA published a notice of the draft MOU in the Federal Register on October 15, 2015, at 80 FR 62153, with a 30-day comment period to solicit the views of the public and Federal agencies. After the comment period closed, FHWA and ODOT considered comments and executed 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 4 years of State participation and, after the fourth year, monitor compliance. The results of each audit must be made available for public comment. The first audit report of ODOT compliance was finalized on July 7, 2017. This notice announces the availability of the second audit report for ODOT and solicits public comment on same. Authority: Section 1313 of Public Law 112–141; Section 6005 of Public Law 109–59; 23 U.S.C. 327; 23 CFR 773. Issued on: April 11, 2018. Brandye L. Hendrickson, Acting Administrator, Federal Highway Administration. Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program Draft FHWA Audit of the Ohio Department of Transportation August 6, 2016 to August 4, 2017 Executive Summary This is the second audit of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) assumption of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) responsibilities, conducted by a team of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) staff (the team). The ODOT made the E:\FR\FM\18APN1.SGM 18APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 75 / Wednesday, April 18, 2018 / Notices effective date of the project-level NEPA and environmental review responsibilities it assumed from FHWA on December 28, 2015, as specified in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on December 11, 2015. The ODOT delegated these responsibilities to ODOT representatives located in the Division of Planning. This audit examined ODOT’s performance under the MOU regarding responsibilities and obligations assigned therein. Prior to the on-site visit, the team performed reviews of ODOT’s project NEPA approval documentation in EnviroNet (ODOT’s official environmental document filing system). This review consisted of a statistically valid sample of 92 project files out of 736 approved documents in ODOT’s EnviroNet system with an environmental approval date between May 31, 2016, and March 31, 2017. The team also reviewed ODOT’s response to the pre-audit information request (PAIR) and ODOT’s Self-Assessment report. In addition, the team reviewed ODOT’s environmental processes, manuals, and guidance; ODOT NEPA Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) Processes and Procedures; and the ODOT NEPA Assignment Training Plan (collectively, ‘‘ODOT procedures’’). The team conducted on-site interviews with ODOT’s Central Office and during the on-site portion of the review from July 31 to August 4, 2017. The team interviewed the resource agencies the week prior to the on-site review. Overall, the team finds ODOT continues to make reasonable progress in implementing the NEPA Assignment Program. The team found one noncompliance observation that will require ODOT to respond with corrective action by its next self-assessment and subsequent report. The team also noted five (5) general observations and three (3) successful practices. amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with NOTICES Background The Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (NEPA Assignment Program) allows a State to assume FHWA’s responsibilities for review, consultation, and compliance with environmental laws for Federal-aid highway projects. When a State assumes these responsibilities, it becomes solely responsible and liable for carrying out the responsibilities assumed, in lieu of FHWA. The State of Ohio represented by ODOT completed the application process and entered into an MOU with FHWA on December 28, 2015. With this agreement, ODOT assumed FHWA’s project approval responsibilities under VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:31 Apr 17, 2018 Jkt 244001 NEPA and NEPA-related Federal environmental laws. The FHWA is obligated to conduct four annual compliance audits of the ODOT’s compliance with the provisions of the MOU. Audits serve as FHWA’s primary mechanism of overseeing ODOT’s compliance with applicable Federal laws and policies, evaluate ODOT’s progress toward achieving the performance measures identified in the MOU, and collect information needed for the Secretary’s annual report to Congress. The team provided a draft of this report to ODOT for its review and the team considered its comments in preparing this draft, which will be available for public review and comment. The FHWA will consider any public comments on this draft in finalizing the report. Scope and Methodology The team conducted a careful examination of the ODOT NEPA Assignment Program through a review of ODOT procedures and project documentation, ODOT’s PAIR response, and the self-assessment summary report, as well as interviews with ODOT Central Office and district environmental staff and resource agency staff. This review focuses on the following six NEPA Assignment Program elements: (1) Program management, (2) documentation and records management, (3) (QA/QC, (4) legal sufficiency, (5) performance measurement, and (6) training. The PAIR consisted of 22 questions, based on responsibilities assigned to ODOT in the MOU. The team reviewed ODOT’s response, and compared the responses to ODOT’s written procedures. The team utilized ODOT’s responses to draft interview questions to clarify information in ODOT’s PAIR response. The ODOT provided its NEPA Assignment Self-Assessment summary report 30 days prior to the team’s on-site review. The team considered this summary report both in focusing on issues during the project file reviews and in drafting interview questions. The report was compared against the previous year self-assessment report and the requirements in the MOU to identify any trends. Between April 21 and June 5, 2017, the Review Team conducted a project file review of a statistically valid sample of 92 project files representing ODOT NEPA project approvals in ODOT’s online environmental file system, EnviroNet with an environmental approval date between May 31, 2016 and March 31, 2017. The sample size of PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17213 92 projects was calculated using a 90 percent confidence interval with a 10 percent margin of error. The projects reviewed represented all NEPA classes of action available, all 12 ODOT Districts and the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC). During the on-site review week, the team conducted interviews with 37 ODOT staff members at the central office and three districts: District 1 (Lima); District 11 (New Philadelphia); and District 12 (Cleveland). Interviewees included District Environmental Coordinators (DEC), environmental staff, and executive management, representing a diverse range of expertise and experience. The interviews at the ODOT Districts included a discussion with staff regarding NEPA Assignment. The team conducted interviews the week prior to the on-site review with personnel from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Division of Air Pollution Control, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region V Office, and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. These agencies provided valuable insight to the Review Team regarding ODOT’s performance and relationships with partner resource agencies. The team identified gaps between the information from the desktop review of ODOT procedures, PAIR, selfassessment, project file review, and interviews. The team documented the results of its reviews and interviews and consolidated the results into related topics or themes. From these topics or themes, the team developed the review observations and successful practices. The audit results are described below. Overall, the team found evidence that ODOT made reasonable progress in implementing the NEPA Assignment Program based on the Audit 1 observations and demonstrated commitment to success of the program. The team found one non-compliance observation that will require ODOT to respond with corrective action by its next self-assessment and subsequent report. The team also noted five (5) general observations and three (3) successful practices. The FHWA expects ODOT to develop and implement timely corrective action to address the non-compliance observation. In addition, based on the observations noted below, the team urges ODOT to consider improvements in order to build upon the early successes of its program. E:\FR\FM\18APN1.SGM 18APN1 17214 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 75 / Wednesday, April 18, 2018 / Notices Observations and Successful Practices Program Management Observation 1: Implementation of ODOT Policy, Manuals, Procedures, and Guidance Is Inconsistent Across the State, Particularly Involving Local Governments and Consultants The Review Team noted inconsistencies in the application of various ODOT procedures in project file reviews. These inconsistencies were particularly apparent in documents produced and actions taken by Local Public Agencies (LPA) and consultants, likely due to variability in these outside parties’ understanding of ODOT procedures and requirements in areas such as public involvement (PI) and environmental justice (EJ). Inconsistencies included items such as not initiating contact with emergency and public services as part of PI during the NEPA process and a failure to include EJ forms in project files. The ODOT representatives reported in response to interviews that they have already taken action to train LPA and consultant staff in response to this observation. The ODOT staff said that they moved registration for the environmental training program from their office to the Office of Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and the result was greater visibility and exposure of environmental training opportunities for the LPAs. The ODOT representatives are hopeful the additional focus on training will mitigate any inconsistencies in their program. amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with NOTICES Successful Practice 1: ODOT Has Effective Program Management Processes in Place Resulting in Successful Project Delivery In the 2 years since ODOT has assumed NEPA responsibilities, ODOT has approved more than 1000 NEPA actions. Since Audit 1, ODOT undertook measures to solidify its program management approach. The ODOT representatives assigned subject matter experts with responsibility for ODOT’s procedures in their subject areas providing a sense of ownership and allowing for ODOT to stay current in its program management responsibilities. The ODOT developed and implemented over 140 procedures to document how to implement NEPA Assignment, manage the program and provide detailed instruction for completion of environmental actions to document preparers and reviewers. The ODOT VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:31 Apr 17, 2018 Jkt 244001 implemented a quarterly update system for new or revised ODOT procedures using a listserv approach and a single Web-based repository of all guidance to share information. The ODOT continues to use routine statewide NEPA chats and DEC Meetings to share updated information with NEPA practitioners and to hear concerns from the field. Lastly, ODOT is committed to continued process improvements to refine areas of noted deficiency. Documentation and Records Management Non-Compliance Observation 1: Disclosure Language Required by Sections 3.1.2 or 3.1.3 of the MOU Was Missing From Project Materials and Documents The team identified 10 project files where PI materials lacked the required disclosure language required in MOU Sections 3.1.2 or 3.1.3. The disclosure in both sections states, ‘‘The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carriedout by ODOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated December 11, 2015 and executed by FHWA and ODOT.’’ In addition to these 10 projects, ODOT identified 9 additional projects in which various other documents lacked the required disclosure language, as part of its selfassessment. The projects identified by FHWA came from 8 of ODOT’s 12 districts and included both ODOT and LPA projects. The projects identified by ODOT have a similar distribution among districts and project sponsors. The team considers this problem to be systemic across Ohio, identified in about 20 percent of the FHWA sample. The team acknowledges that ODOT has already developed an action plan to address this issue, including the following: • In support of NEPA Assignment, ODOT has issued over 140 pieces of guidance, manuals or instructions on ODOT’s process and implementation of the NEPA Assignment Program. The ODOT will review guidance that references this section of the MOU and ensure that there are no changes that we could make to better provide direction or guidance to our teams on how to comply with this requirement. • The MOU Section 3.1.3 requirement is already a part of several of ODOT environmental training classes, PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 including the PI class, Categorical Exclusion (CE) class, 1-Week NEPA class, among others. However, ODOT will review these classes to ensure Section 3.1.3 requirements are included and seek to include this compliance area into other classes. • In addition, ODOT will make this area a renewed focus at our NEPA chats and DEC meetings. Both of these events are training events with all of ODOT’s environmental staff, statewide. In addition, this topic will be presented to our consultant teams at our next Consultant Environmental Update Meeting and our Ohio Transportation Engineering Conference). Lastly, ODOT will look for opportunities to increase outreach to our LPA’s on this subject. The ODOT will keep working to improve our overall performance in this area. Observation 2: Project-Level Compliance Issues Were Identified in Four Areas: Public Involvement, Environmental Justice, Environmental Commitments, and Fiscal Constraint. In Addition, Instances Were Identified Where the Information Included in the Online Environmental File Did Not Comply With ODOT Standards The FHWA identified project-level compliance issues on 17 projects in 4 areas in Audit 2. Three areas were identified in both Audit 1 and Audit 2 (i.e., PI, EJ, and environmental commitments) and one was a new area of issue in the current audit (i.e., fiscal constraint). Three of the areas in need of improvement from the FHWA Audit 1 (i.e., floodplains, Wetlands Findings per E.O. 11990, and Section 4(f)) were not identified in this audit, as shown in Table 1. As a result of the first FHWA audit and ODOT’s first self-assessment, ODOT updated many procedures relating to the NEPA process and NEPA Assignment to improve its processes and meet Federal requirements. This may be a contributing factor to the changes in the areas in need of improvement identified in FHWA Audit 1 and FHWA Audit 2 The ODOT’s second Self-Assessment summary report also identified PI, EJ, and environmental commitments as areas of needed improvements and fiscal constraint as a compliance issue. During Audit 2, ODOT informed FHWA about planned changes and improvements to EnviroNet that should address some of the errors identified in the FHWA project file review. E:\FR\FM\18APN1.SGM 18APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 75 / Wednesday, April 18, 2018 / Notices 17215 TABLE 1—AREAS WITH PROJECT-LEVEL COMPLIANCE ISSUES BY YEAR Area FHWA Audit 1 (2016) FHWA Audit 2 (2017) Public Involvement ................................................................................................................................................... Environmental Justice .............................................................................................................................................. Environmental Commitments ................................................................................................................................... Fiscal Constraint ...................................................................................................................................................... Floodplains ............................................................................................................................................................... Wetlands Findings per E.O. 11990 ......................................................................................................................... Section 4(f) .............................................................................................................................................................. ✓ ✓ ✓ ........................ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ........................ ........................ ........................ Successful Practice 2: EnviroNet Serves as QA/QC in Terms of Process and Consistency Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with NOTICES In addition, FHWA identified issues with project file management in both Audit 1 and Audit 2. The ODOT also identified project file management as an area in need of improvement through its Self-Assessment summary reports. For example, the team could not find required documentation in the Project File Tab even though there were indications that a related task was completed. The areas under which the errors occurred, include, but are not limited to PI, EJ, environmental commitments, maintenance of traffic, and fiscal constraint. The projects identified represent all ODOT’s 12 districts and included ODOT, ORDC, and LPA projects. The team considers these to be project level compliance issues because, although documentation expected to be in the project file was missing, the files generally contained indications that the necessary review or commitments were being implemented. The team strongly encourages ODOT to continue improvements to EnviroNet and ODOT procedures to ensure complete documentation and compliance on future projects. The FHWA will more closely review these project level compliance issues in its next Audit review. To date, ODOT has not applied the ‘‘ODOT NEPA Assignment Legal Sufficiency Review Guidance’’ guidance because it did not have any documents that required legal sufficiency review. There are no observations to report at this time. Observation 3: There Are Variations in Awareness, Understanding, and Implementation of QA/QC Process and Procedures The inconsistencies and missing information so far described are an indication that ODOT’s QA/QC process requires attention. The interviews revealed that middle and upper management at the districts are not involved in the QA/QC process. The ODOT District environmental staff and non-environmental staff said that they rely on the ODOT Central Office to be the final backstop for QA/QC. However, most district staff indicated a lack of awareness or understanding of the overall QA/QC process. No training is provided exclusively for QA/QC. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:31 Apr 17, 2018 Jkt 244001 Interviews with district and ODOT Central Office staff indicated that, overall, EnviroNet has changed the NEPA review process for the better and represents a ‘‘one-stop shop’’ for documentation of the NEPA process. The ODOT staff indicated that with everything now on-line, including electronic signatures, communication is easier between ODOT, the LPAs and consultants. The use of drop down menus and response selections within the project file resource areas acts as QC, creating increased standardization and consistency statewide. The system of checks built into the system includes error messages and a hard stop of the project if a peer review is required and not completed. Another safeguard of EnviroNet is ‘‘validation’’ which instigates a hard stop if required fields are not filled in the project file. There are security protocols to allow access to the appropriate staff for project file review and input, peer review and ultimately approval officials. Legal Sufficiency Review Performance Measures Observation 4: Some of ODOT’s Performance Measures Are Ineffective The ODOT developed Performance Measures as required in MOU Section 10.2 to provide an overall indication of ODOT’s execution of its responsibilities assigned by the MOU. The team urges ODOT to refine or revise performance measures to reveal any occasional or ongoing challenges in agency relationships as well as any possible need to adjust approaches to QC. PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Training Program The ODOT has a robust environmental training program and provides adequate budget and time for staff to access a variety of internal and external training. The ODOT updated its training plan in January 2017, and provided the plan to FHWA and resource agencies for their review, as required by Section 12.2 of the MOU. The training plan includes both traditional, instructor-based training courses and quarterly DEC meetings as well as monthly NEPA chats, where ODOT Central Office staff can share new information and guidance with district staff, including interactive discussions on the environmental program. Furthermore, the training plan includes a system to track training needs within ODOT. In addition, ODOT holds biannual meetings with consultants to provide on-going updates about the environmental program Successful Practice 3: ODOT Continues the Practice of Required and Continuous Training of Both Staff and Consultants Involved in the Environmental Process The ODOT’s training plan states that all ODOT environmental staff (both central and district offices) and environmental consultants are required to take the pre-qualification training courses. Staff is also encouraged to take training offered beyond the minimum required training. All staff interviewed indicated that ODOT management fully supports required training of staff and consultants. Observation 5: Opportunities Exist for Expanding Training in Environmental Justice (EJ) Currently, ODOT’s training plan does not include a stand-alone training course on EJ. In the Self-Assessment summary report, ODOT identified EJ as an area needing improvement. This observation and that the team found project level compliance issues related to EJ indicate that additional attention should be paid by ODOT to EJ compliance. The FHWA encourages E:\FR\FM\18APN1.SGM 18APN1 17216 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 75 / Wednesday, April 18, 2018 / Notices ODOT to include specific EJ training opportunities in its training plan, such as the Web-based course currently under development, and other EJ courses offered by the National Highway Institute (NHI), the FHWA Resource Center, and/or the EPA. Next Steps The FHWA provided a draft of this audit report to ODOT for a 14-day review and comment period and considered ODOT’s comments in developing this draft report. In addition, FHWA will consider comments on the draft report received from the public within the 30-day comment period after publication in the Federal Register, pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327(g). No later than 60 days after the close of the comment period, FHWA will respond to all comments submitted, pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327(g)(2)(B). Once finalized, FHWA will publish the final audit report in the Federal Register. 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 ODOT’s corrective and other actions taken in response to this audit’s conclusions. [FR Doc. 2018–08101 Filed 4–17–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–22–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Highway Administration [FHWA Docket No. FHWA–2018–0004] Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program; Florida DOT Audit #1 Report Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice, request for comment. AGENCY: The Surface Transportation Project Delivery 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 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 4 years of State participation to ensure compliance with program requirements. This is the first audit of the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) performance of its responsibilities under the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (National Environmental Policy Act amozie on DSK30RV082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:31 Apr 17, 2018 Jkt 244001 (NEPA) assignment program). This notice announces and solicits comments on the first audit report for the FDOT’s participation in accordance to FAST Act requirements. DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 18, 2018. ADDRESSES: Mail or hand deliver comments to Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. You may also submit comments electronically at www.regulations.gov. All comments should include the docket number that appears in the heading of this document. All comments received will be available for examination and copying at the above address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of comments must include a selfaddressed, stamped postcard or you may print the acknowledgment page that appears after submitting comments electronically. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments in any one of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, or labor union). The DOT posts these comments, without edits, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL–14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Marisel Lopez Cruz, Office of Project Development and Environmental Review, (202) 493–0356, marisel.lopezcruz@dot.gov, or Mr. David Sett, Office of the Chief Counsel, (404) 562–3676, david.sett@dot.gov, Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation, 61 Forsyth Street 17T100, Atlanta, GA 30303. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: codified at 23 U.S.C. 327. 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. The FDOT published in the Florida Administrative Register its application for assumption under the NEPA Assignment Program on April 15, 2016, and made it available for public comment for 30 days. After considering public comments, FDOT submitted its application to FHWA on May 31, 2016. The application served as the basis for developing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that identifies the responsibilities and obligations FDOT would assume. The FHWA published a notice of the draft MOU in the Federal Register on November 1, 2016, 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 FDOT considered comments and proceeded to execute the MOU. Effective December 14, 2016, FDOT assumed FHWA’s responsibilities under NEPA, and the responsibilities for reviews under other Federal environmental requirements. Section 327(g) of Title 23, United States Code, requires the Secretary to conduct annual audits during each of the first 4 years of State participation. After the fourth year, the Secretary shall monitor the State’s compliance with the written agreement. The results of each audit must be made available for public comment. This notice announces the availability of the first audit report for FDOT and solicits public comment on same. Electronic Access An electronic copy of this notice may be downloaded from the specific docket page at www.regulations.gov. FHWA Audit #1 of the Florida Department of Transportation Background The Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (or NEPA Assignment Program) allows a State to assume FHWA’s environmental responsibilities for review, consultation, and compliance for Federal highway projects. This provision has been This is the first audit of the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT’s) performance of its responsibilities under the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assignment program). Under the authority of 23 United States Code PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Authority: Section 1313 of Public Law 112–141; Section 6005 of Public Law 109–59; Public Law 114–94; 23 U.S.C. 327; 49 CFR 1.85; 23 CFR 773. Issued on: April 11, 2018. Brandye L. Hendrickson, Acting Administrator, Federal Highway Administration. DRAFT Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program December 2016 to May 2017 Executive Summary E:\FR\FM\18APN1.SGM 18APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 75 (Wednesday, April 18, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17212-17216]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-08101]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2018-0009]


Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program; Ohio Department 
of Transportation Audit Report

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice; Request for comment.

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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 4 years of State participation to ensure compliance 
with program requirements. This notice announces and solicits comments 
on the second audit report for the Ohio Department of Transportation 
(ODOT).

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 18, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Mail or hand deliver comments to Docket Management Facility: 
U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Room W12-
140, Washington, DC 20590. You may also submit comments electronically 
at www.regulations.gov. All comments should include the docket number 
that appears in the heading of this document. All comments received 
will be available for examination and copying at the above address from 
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. 
Those desiring notification of receipt of comments must include a self-
addressed, stamped postcard or you may print the acknowledgment page 
that appears after submitting comments electronically. Anyone can 
search the electronic form of all comments in any of our dockets by the 
name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, 
if submitted on behalf of an association, business, or labor union). 
The DOT posts these comments, without edits, including any personal 
information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as 
described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can 
be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James G. Gavin, Office of Project 
Development and Environmental Review, (202) 366-1473, 
[email protected], Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 or Mr. 
David Sett, Office of the Chief Counsel, (404) 562-3676, 
[email protected], Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 61 Forsyth Street 17T100, Atlanta, GA 30303. Office 
hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., e.t., 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.

Background

    The Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program, codified at 23 
United States Code (U.S.C.) 327, commonly known as the NEPA Assignment 
Program, allows a State to assume FHWA's responsibilities for 
environmental 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 the FHWA. The ODOT published its application 
for assumption under the NEPA Assignment Program on April 12, 2015, and 
made it available for public comment for 30 days. After considering 
public comments, ODOT submitted its application to FHWA on May 27, 
2015. The application served as the basis for developing the memorandum 
of understanding (MOU) that identifies the responsibilities and 
obligations that ODOT would assume. The FHWA published a notice of the 
draft MOU in the Federal Register on October 15, 2015, at 80 FR 62153, 
with a 30-day comment period to solicit the views of the public and 
Federal agencies. After the comment period closed, FHWA and ODOT 
considered comments and executed 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 4 years of State participation and, after the fourth year, 
monitor compliance. The results of each audit must be made available 
for public comment. The first audit report of ODOT compliance was 
finalized on July 7, 2017. This notice announces the availability of 
the second audit report for ODOT and solicits public comment on same.

    Authority: Section 1313 of Public Law 112-141; Section 6005 of 
Public Law 109-59; 23 U.S.C. 327; 23 CFR 773.

    Issued on: April 11, 2018.
Brandye L. Hendrickson,
Acting Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.

Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program

Draft FHWA Audit of the Ohio Department of Transportation

August 6, 2016 to August 4, 2017

Executive Summary

    This is the second audit of the Ohio Department of Transportation's 
(ODOT) assumption of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
responsibilities, conducted by a team of Federal Highway Administration 
(FHWA) staff (the team). The ODOT made the

[[Page 17213]]

effective date of the project-level NEPA and environmental review 
responsibilities it assumed from FHWA on December 28, 2015, as 
specified in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on December 11, 
2015. The ODOT delegated these responsibilities to ODOT representatives 
located in the Division of Planning. This audit examined ODOT's 
performance under the MOU regarding responsibilities and obligations 
assigned therein.
    Prior to the on-site visit, the team performed reviews of ODOT's 
project NEPA approval documentation in EnviroNet (ODOT's official 
environmental document filing system). This review consisted of a 
statistically valid sample of 92 project files out of 736 approved 
documents in ODOT's EnviroNet system with an environmental approval 
date between May 31, 2016, and March 31, 2017. The team also reviewed 
ODOT's response to the pre-audit information request (PAIR) and ODOT's 
Self-Assessment report. In addition, the team reviewed ODOT's 
environmental processes, manuals, and guidance; ODOT NEPA Quality 
Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) Processes and Procedures; and the 
ODOT NEPA Assignment Training Plan (collectively, ``ODOT procedures''). 
The team conducted on-site interviews with ODOT's Central Office and 
during the on-site portion of the review from July 31 to August 4, 
2017. The team interviewed the resource agencies the week prior to the 
on-site review.
    Overall, the team finds ODOT continues to make reasonable progress 
in implementing the NEPA Assignment Program. The team found one non-
compliance observation that will require ODOT to respond with 
corrective action by its next self-assessment and subsequent report. 
The team also noted five (5) general observations and three (3) 
successful practices.

Background

    The Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (NEPA 
Assignment Program) allows a State to assume FHWA's responsibilities 
for review, consultation, and compliance with environmental laws for 
Federal-aid highway projects. When a State assumes these 
responsibilities, it becomes solely responsible and liable for carrying 
out the responsibilities assumed, in lieu of FHWA.
    The State of Ohio represented by ODOT completed the application 
process and entered into an MOU with FHWA on December 28, 2015. With 
this agreement, ODOT assumed FHWA's project approval responsibilities 
under NEPA and NEPA-related Federal environmental laws.
    The FHWA is obligated to conduct four annual compliance audits of 
the ODOT's compliance with the provisions of the MOU. Audits serve as 
FHWA's primary mechanism of overseeing ODOT's compliance with 
applicable Federal laws and policies, evaluate ODOT's progress toward 
achieving the performance measures identified in the MOU, and collect 
information needed for the Secretary's annual report to Congress.
    The team provided a draft of this report to ODOT for its review and 
the team considered its comments in preparing this draft, which will be 
available for public review and comment. The FHWA will consider any 
public comments on this draft in finalizing the report.

Scope and Methodology

    The team conducted a careful examination of the ODOT NEPA 
Assignment Program through a review of ODOT procedures and project 
documentation, ODOT's PAIR response, and the self-assessment summary 
report, as well as interviews with ODOT Central Office and district 
environmental staff and resource agency staff. This review focuses on 
the following six NEPA Assignment Program elements: (1) Program 
management, (2) documentation and records management, (3) (QA/QC, (4) 
legal sufficiency, (5) performance measurement, and (6) training.
    The PAIR consisted of 22 questions, based on responsibilities 
assigned to ODOT in the MOU. The team reviewed ODOT's response, and 
compared the responses to ODOT's written procedures. The team utilized 
ODOT's responses to draft interview questions to clarify information in 
ODOT's PAIR response.
    The ODOT provided its NEPA Assignment Self-Assessment summary 
report 30 days prior to the team's on-site review. The team considered 
this summary report both in focusing on issues during the project file 
reviews and in drafting interview questions. The report was compared 
against the previous year self-assessment report and the requirements 
in the MOU to identify any trends.
    Between April 21 and June 5, 2017, the Review Team conducted a 
project file review of a statistically valid sample of 92 project files 
representing ODOT NEPA project approvals in ODOT's online environmental 
file system, EnviroNet with an environmental approval date between May 
31, 2016 and March 31, 2017. The sample size of 92 projects was 
calculated using a 90 percent confidence interval with a 10 percent 
margin of error. The projects reviewed represented all NEPA classes of 
action available, all 12 ODOT Districts and the Ohio Rail Development 
Commission (ORDC).
    During the on-site review week, the team conducted interviews with 
37 ODOT staff members at the central office and three districts: 
District 1 (Lima); District 11 (New Philadelphia); and District 12 
(Cleveland). Interviewees included District Environmental Coordinators 
(DEC), environmental staff, and executive management, representing a 
diverse range of expertise and experience. The interviews at the ODOT 
Districts included a discussion with staff regarding NEPA Assignment.
    The team conducted interviews the week prior to the on-site review 
with personnel from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Division 
of Air Pollution Control, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
Region V Office, and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. These 
agencies provided valuable insight to the Review Team regarding ODOT's 
performance and relationships with partner resource agencies.
    The team identified gaps between the information from the desktop 
review of ODOT procedures, PAIR, self-assessment, project file review, 
and interviews. The team documented the results of its reviews and 
interviews and consolidated the results into related topics or themes. 
From these topics or themes, the team developed the review observations 
and successful practices. The audit results are described below.
    Overall, the team found evidence that ODOT made reasonable progress 
in implementing the NEPA Assignment Program based on the Audit 1 
observations and demonstrated commitment to success of the program. The 
team found one non-compliance observation that will require ODOT to 
respond with corrective action by its next self-assessment and 
subsequent report. The team also noted five (5) general observations 
and three (3) successful practices.
    The FHWA expects ODOT to develop and implement timely corrective 
action to address the non-compliance observation. In addition, based on 
the observations noted below, the team urges ODOT to consider 
improvements in order to build upon the early successes of its program.

[[Page 17214]]

Observations and Successful Practices

Program Management

Observation 1: Implementation of ODOT Policy, Manuals, Procedures, and 
Guidance Is Inconsistent Across the State, Particularly Involving Local 
Governments and Consultants

    The Review Team noted inconsistencies in the application of various 
ODOT procedures in project file reviews. These inconsistencies were 
particularly apparent in documents produced and actions taken by Local 
Public Agencies (LPA) and consultants, likely due to variability in 
these outside parties' understanding of ODOT procedures and 
requirements in areas such as public involvement (PI) and environmental 
justice (EJ). Inconsistencies included items such as not initiating 
contact with emergency and public services as part of PI during the 
NEPA process and a failure to include EJ forms in project files.
    The ODOT representatives reported in response to interviews that 
they have already taken action to train LPA and consultant staff in 
response to this observation. The ODOT staff said that they moved 
registration for the environmental training program from their office 
to the Office of Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and the 
result was greater visibility and exposure of environmental training 
opportunities for the LPAs. The ODOT representatives are hopeful the 
additional focus on training will mitigate any inconsistencies in their 
program.

Successful Practice 1: ODOT Has Effective Program Management Processes 
in Place Resulting in Successful Project Delivery

    In the 2 years since ODOT has assumed NEPA responsibilities, ODOT 
has approved more than 1000 NEPA actions. Since Audit 1, ODOT undertook 
measures to solidify its program management approach. The ODOT 
representatives assigned subject matter experts with responsibility for 
ODOT's procedures in their subject areas providing a sense of ownership 
and allowing for ODOT to stay current in its program management 
responsibilities. The ODOT developed and implemented over 140 
procedures to document how to implement NEPA Assignment, manage the 
program and provide detailed instruction for completion of 
environmental actions to document preparers and reviewers. The ODOT 
implemented a quarterly update system for new or revised ODOT 
procedures using a listserv approach and a single Web-based repository 
of all guidance to share information. The ODOT continues to use routine 
statewide NEPA chats and DEC Meetings to share updated information with 
NEPA practitioners and to hear concerns from the field. Lastly, ODOT is 
committed to continued process improvements to refine areas of noted 
deficiency.

Documentation and Records Management

Non-Compliance Observation 1: Disclosure Language Required by Sections 
3.1.2 or 3.1.3 of the MOU Was Missing From Project Materials and 
Documents

    The team identified 10 project files where PI materials lacked the 
required disclosure language required in MOU Sections 3.1.2 or 3.1.3. 
The disclosure in both sections states, ``The environmental review, 
consultation, and other actions required by applicable federal 
environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carried-
out by ODOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding 
dated December 11, 2015 and executed by FHWA and ODOT.'' In addition to 
these 10 projects, ODOT identified 9 additional projects in which 
various other documents lacked the required disclosure language, as 
part of its self-assessment.
    The projects identified by FHWA came from 8 of ODOT's 12 districts 
and included both ODOT and LPA projects. The projects identified by 
ODOT have a similar distribution among districts and project sponsors. 
The team considers this problem to be systemic across Ohio, identified 
in about 20 percent of the FHWA sample.
    The team acknowledges that ODOT has already developed an action 
plan to address this issue, including the following:
 In support of NEPA Assignment, ODOT has issued over 140 pieces 
of guidance, manuals or instructions on ODOT's process and 
implementation of the NEPA Assignment Program. The ODOT will review 
guidance that references this section of the MOU and ensure that there 
are no changes that we could make to better provide direction or 
guidance to our teams on how to comply with this requirement.
 The MOU Section 3.1.3 requirement is already a part of several 
of ODOT environmental training classes, including the PI class, 
Categorical Exclusion (CE) class, 1-Week NEPA class, among others. 
However, ODOT will review these classes to ensure Section 3.1.3 
requirements are included and seek to include this compliance area into 
other classes.
 In addition, ODOT will make this area a renewed focus at our 
NEPA chats and DEC meetings. Both of these events are training events 
with all of ODOT's environmental staff, statewide. In addition, this 
topic will be presented to our consultant teams at our next Consultant 
Environmental Update Meeting and our Ohio Transportation Engineering 
Conference). Lastly, ODOT will look for opportunities to increase 
outreach to our LPA's on this subject. The ODOT will keep working to 
improve our overall performance in this area.

Observation 2: Project-Level Compliance Issues Were Identified in Four 
Areas: Public Involvement, Environmental Justice, Environmental 
Commitments, and Fiscal Constraint. In Addition, Instances Were 
Identified Where the Information Included in the Online Environmental 
File Did Not Comply With ODOT Standards

    The FHWA identified project-level compliance issues on 17 projects 
in 4 areas in Audit 2. Three areas were identified in both Audit 1 and 
Audit 2 (i.e., PI, EJ, and environmental commitments) and one was a new 
area of issue in the current audit (i.e., fiscal constraint). Three of 
the areas in need of improvement from the FHWA Audit 1 (i.e., 
floodplains, Wetlands Findings per E.O. 11990, and Section 4(f)) were 
not identified in this audit, as shown in Table 1. As a result of the 
first FHWA audit and ODOT's first self-assessment, ODOT updated many 
procedures relating to the NEPA process and NEPA Assignment to improve 
its processes and meet Federal requirements. This may be a contributing 
factor to the changes in the areas in need of improvement identified in 
FHWA Audit 1 and FHWA Audit 2
    The ODOT's second Self-Assessment summary report also identified 
PI, EJ, and environmental commitments as areas of needed improvements 
and fiscal constraint as a compliance issue. During Audit 2, ODOT 
informed FHWA about planned changes and improvements to EnviroNet that 
should address some of the errors identified in the FHWA project file 
review.

[[Page 17215]]



       Table 1--Areas With Project-Level Compliance Issues by Year
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          FHWA Audit 1     FHWA Audit 2
                 Area                        (2016)           (2017)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Public Involvement....................         [check]          [check]
Environmental Justice.................         [check]          [check]
Environmental Commitments.............         [check]          [check]
Fiscal Constraint.....................  ...............         [check]
Floodplains...........................         [check]   ...............
Wetlands Findings per E.O. 11990......         [check]   ...............
Section 4(f)..........................         [check]   ...............
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, FHWA identified issues with project file management in 
both Audit 1 and Audit 2. The ODOT also identified project file 
management as an area in need of improvement through its Self-
Assessment summary reports. For example, the team could not find 
required documentation in the Project File Tab even though there were 
indications that a related task was completed. The areas under which 
the errors occurred, include, but are not limited to PI, EJ, 
environmental commitments, maintenance of traffic, and fiscal 
constraint. The projects identified represent all ODOT's 12 districts 
and included ODOT, ORDC, and LPA projects.
    The team considers these to be project level compliance issues 
because, although documentation expected to be in the project file was 
missing, the files generally contained indications that the necessary 
review or commitments were being implemented. The team strongly 
encourages ODOT to continue improvements to EnviroNet and ODOT 
procedures to ensure complete documentation and compliance on future 
projects. The FHWA will more closely review these project level 
compliance issues in its next Audit review.

Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC)

Observation 3: There Are Variations in Awareness, Understanding, and 
Implementation of QA/QC Process and Procedures

    The inconsistencies and missing information so far described are an 
indication that ODOT's QA/QC process requires attention. The interviews 
revealed that middle and upper management at the districts are not 
involved in the QA/QC process. The ODOT District environmental staff 
and non-environmental staff said that they rely on the ODOT Central 
Office to be the final backstop for QA/QC. However, most district staff 
indicated a lack of awareness or understanding of the overall QA/QC 
process. No training is provided exclusively for QA/QC.

Successful Practice 2: EnviroNet Serves as QA/QC in Terms of Process 
and Consistency

    Interviews with district and ODOT Central Office staff indicated 
that, overall, EnviroNet has changed the NEPA review process for the 
better and represents a ``one-stop shop'' for documentation of the NEPA 
process. The ODOT staff indicated that with everything now on-line, 
including electronic signatures, communication is easier between ODOT, 
the LPAs and consultants. The use of drop down menus and response 
selections within the project file resource areas acts as QC, creating 
increased standardization and consistency statewide.
    The system of checks built into the system includes error messages 
and a hard stop of the project if a peer review is required and not 
completed. Another safeguard of EnviroNet is ``validation'' which 
instigates a hard stop if required fields are not filled in the project 
file. There are security protocols to allow access to the appropriate 
staff for project file review and input, peer review and ultimately 
approval officials.

Legal Sufficiency Review

    To date, ODOT has not applied the ``ODOT NEPA Assignment Legal 
Sufficiency Review Guidance'' guidance because it did not have any 
documents that required legal sufficiency review. There are no 
observations to report at this time.

Performance Measures

Observation 4: Some of ODOT's Performance Measures Are Ineffective

    The ODOT developed Performance Measures as required in MOU Section 
10.2 to provide an overall indication of ODOT's execution of its 
responsibilities assigned by the MOU. The team urges ODOT to refine or 
revise performance measures to reveal any occasional or ongoing 
challenges in agency relationships as well as any possible need to 
adjust approaches to QC.

Training Program

    The ODOT has a robust environmental training program and provides 
adequate budget and time for staff to access a variety of internal and 
external training. The ODOT updated its training plan in January 2017, 
and provided the plan to FHWA and resource agencies for their review, 
as required by Section 12.2 of the MOU. The training plan includes both 
traditional, instructor-based training courses and quarterly DEC 
meetings as well as monthly NEPA chats, where ODOT Central Office staff 
can share new information and guidance with district staff, including 
interactive discussions on the environmental program. Furthermore, the 
training plan includes a system to track training needs within ODOT. In 
addition, ODOT holds bi-annual meetings with consultants to provide on-
going updates about the environmental program

Successful Practice 3: ODOT Continues the Practice of Required and 
Continuous Training of Both Staff and Consultants Involved in the 
Environmental Process

    The ODOT's training plan states that all ODOT environmental staff 
(both central and district offices) and environmental consultants are 
required to take the pre-qualification training courses. Staff is also 
encouraged to take training offered beyond the minimum required 
training. All staff interviewed indicated that ODOT management fully 
supports required training of staff and consultants.

Observation 5: Opportunities Exist for Expanding Training in 
Environmental Justice (EJ)

    Currently, ODOT's training plan does not include a stand-alone 
training course on EJ. In the Self-Assessment summary report, ODOT 
identified EJ as an area needing improvement. This observation and that 
the team found project level compliance issues related to EJ indicate 
that additional attention should be paid by ODOT to EJ compliance. The 
FHWA encourages

[[Page 17216]]

ODOT to include specific EJ training opportunities in its training 
plan, such as the Web-based course currently under development, and 
other EJ courses offered by the National Highway Institute (NHI), the 
FHWA Resource Center, and/or the EPA.

Next Steps

    The FHWA provided a draft of this audit report to ODOT for a 14-day 
review and comment period and considered ODOT's comments in developing 
this draft report. In addition, FHWA will consider comments on the 
draft report received from the public within the 30-day comment period 
after publication in the Federal Register, pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 
327(g). No later than 60 days after the close of the comment period, 
FHWA will respond to all comments submitted, pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 
327(g)(2)(B). Once finalized, FHWA will publish the final audit report 
in the Federal Register.
    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 ODOT's corrective and other 
actions taken in response to this audit's conclusions.

[FR Doc. 2018-08101 Filed 4-17-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-22-P