The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), in cooperation with the FHWA, published two program alternatives (viz. 36 CFR 800.14) that significantly streamlined transportation project development: "Exemption Regarding Historic Preservation Review Process for Effects to the Interstate Highway System" (2005) and "Program Comment Issued for Streamlining Section 106 Review for Actions Affecting Post-1945 Concrete and Steel Bridges" (2012). Experience with exemptions from Section 106, either through a formal exemption or program alternatives and comments, has demonstrated that these are among the most effective means to streamline state department of transportation (DOT) compliance with federal requirements. Exempting entire categories of properties from Section 106 consideration can significantly reduce regulatory burdens and allow state DOTs and their State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) partners to focus on historic preservation issues of the highest value. For example, the Virginia DOT has 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 will build on the results of NCHRP 25-25/Task 91 "Synthesis of Transportation Exclusions to Section 106 Review", which focused on state-level exemptions, to identify additional potential exemptions applicable at the state and national levels. One area for potential new program alternatives is a program comment on post-World War II housing, a ubiquitous category of property subject to Section 106.
The results of this effort can support state DOTs in their negotiations with SHPOs as well as provide background information for the ACHP and FHWA in their consideration of national exemptions.
This research will identify opportunities and develop guidance for new program alternatives using national exemptions or program comments designed to further streamline Section 106 consultation for transportation projects.