For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

 Ohio Department of Transportation  Internet News Release
September 17, 2003

ODOT Nationally Recognized 
for Environmental Efficiencies

(COLUMBUS) The Ohio Department of Transportation has been nationally recognized by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) for its efficiency in complying with environmental requirements associated with highway construction.

"We have worked hard to improve our environmental activities," said ODOT Director Gordon Proctor. "This award is a tribute to our pioneering efforts in partnering with other agencies to protect the environment without creating excessive delays to needed highway projects."

ODOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) worked together to streamline federally required environmental reviews for construction projects eliminating unnecessary paperwork and redundant processes. This innovative partnership is one example of how, during the past five years, ODOT has become a national leader in complying with complex environmental regulations.

The new approach used in nearly all of ODOTs construction, has reduced the time involved with environmental issues by an average of four to six months on large projects and two to three months for small projects. It is also being used by local governments and other state transportation departments as a model as they work to comply with federal regulations. Additionally, and most significantly, the use of the streamlined process will not lessen ODOTs efforts to protect historic architecture, endangered plants and animals, and other sensitive resources.

Navigating the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which is a federal law regulating government actions affecting the environment, can be difficult. However, because of the partnership with FHWA and SHPO, ODOT has managed to cut through excessive bureaucracy involved with environmental regulations.

"ODOT has one of the most effective environmental streamlining programs in the nation, and we are very proud of our efforts to become more efficient," said ODOT Office of Environmental Services Administrator Timothy Hill.

AASHTOs Francis B. Francois Award for Innovation is presented annually to states for the implementation of innovative programs. As part of the award, AASHTO bestowed a $10,000 graduate fellowship to be conferred by ODOT.