The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), published two "program alternatives" (viz. 36 CFR 800.14) that significantly streamlined transportation project development. These program alternatives were the "Exemption Regarding Historic Preservation Review Process for Effects to the Interstate Highway System" (2005) and the "Program Comment Issued for Streamlining Section 106 Review for Actions Affecting Post-1945 Concrete and Steel Bridges" (2012). As a typical example, for the Virginia DOT the two existing program alternatives have eliminated or streamlined Section 106 consultation on hundreds of routine projects involving the interstate system and for projects involving thousands of ordinary bridges built after 1945.
This research effort would seek to identify similar opportunities for program alternatives, covered by national exemptions or program comments that could further streamline Section 106 consultation for transportation projects. This research also would build on the results of NCHRP 25-25, Task 91: "Synthesis of Transportation Exclusions to Section 106 Review" to identify potential exemptions applicable on a national basis. The principal effort would involve a survey and synthesis of state DOTs to identify program alternatives (i.e., Section 106 exemptions and program comments of national scope) opportunities of highest value to state DOTs, including the development of an outline for each recommended exemption or program comment. The results of this effort would be available for consideration by both the ACHP and FHWA, and be available to each state for potential use in negotiating local efficiencies with individual State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs).