Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 requires that Federal agencies take into account the effects of their undertakings on properties eligible for listing in, or listed in the National Register of Historic Places ("historic properties") and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) a reasonable opportunity to comment. The regulations govern how Federal agencies carry-out the requirements of Section 106, including permitting Federal agencies to enter into Programmatic Agreements (PAs) to govern implementation of a program.
To date, 41 state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have entered into such agreements with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the ACHP, and the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) for their respective states. These PAs substantially streamline compliance by exempting much of the routine work from consultation. Other provisions of the various PAs permit state DOTs to consult directly with the SHPO or not at all depending on the project specific issues. NCHRP Task 91 recently collated the exemptions from Section 106 review, providing a useful tool for DOTs looking to renew or expand the delegations in their respective PAs. Building on Task 91 report, this study would drill down further into the specific details of existing PAs, focusing on the extent to which states have assumed responsibilities for Section 106 compliance through the PA process. Knowing how states have approached delegation of responsibility will help other states take advantage of concepts already be in place that can benefit project schedules and save taxpayers considerable expense. Further, by reducing the number of undertakings that require full consultation with SHPO or ACHP, more focus can be directed to reducing the effects of undertakings warranting review.
The purpose of this research is to provide states considering, or amending their agreements, under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and to supplement NCHRP 25-25, Task 91 with practical guidance for application, preparation, and modification of their own PAs.