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22 CHAPTER FOUR PRE-PROJECT PLANNING Pre-project planning efforts establish frameworks and proce- FHWA's NEPA regulations (17). Having the PA in place dures that guide future project development and associated reduces paperwork and moves the project more quickly historic preservation reviews. These efforts include, but are not through the project development process. The DOT is also limited to, PAs, IT and information management tools, and doing a better job of historic preservation, as staff is a little syntheses and treatment guidance for categories of archaeo- more careful because the requirements of the PA are so logical resources. tightly written. Caltrans has a procedural PA, executed in January 2004, PROGRAMMATIC AGREEMENTS which delegates extensive review authority to the DOT. The PA includes lists of "screenable" undertakings, which can PAs are formal, legally binding agreements between a fed- be exempted from further Section 106 review, and a list of eral agency and the ACHP stipulating the process for com- resource categories that are exempt from evaluation. The latter pliance with Section 106. Most people are familiar with includes archaeological sites such as isolated prehistoric or his- "project-specific" PAs, which are used to manage compli- toric finds, isolated historic refuse dumps and scatters that lack ance for large, complex projects and situations where it is dif- specific historic associations, and isolated mining prospect pits. ficult to determine the effects on historic properties before a federal action. Pre-project planning often involves proce- Under the PA, Caltrans also has the review authority to dural PAs that establish a process through which the agen- make findings of "no historic properties affected" or "no cies will meet their Section 106 compliance responsibilities adverse effect with standard conditions." In terms of the lat- for an agency program, a category of projects, or a particular ter finding, Caltrans can assume that a site is eligible for the type of resource. In the case of transportation projects, state National Register "for the purpose of the undertaking," with- DOTs are often parties to these agreements. Procedural PAs, out conducting subsurface testing. These site areas are then especially those that delegate review authority to the state defined as Environmentally Sensitive Areas and are protected DOT, are viewed by DOTs and FHWA as one of the most from project construction activities. Caltrans notifies the con- effective tools to streamline and enhance the Section 106 sulting parties, including the SHPO, of these findings and process, including archaeological investigations. These PAs makes the findings documentation available to all parties. result in reduced project timelines and greater certainty in project development outcomes (17,22,23). The PA has reduced the paperwork handled by Caltrans, the SHPO, and FHWA; and Caltrans can move projects more Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, quickly through the review process. Furthermore, as a result Rhode Island, Washington State, and Wyoming have what is of the training that is required as part of the implementation referred to as a "minor projects" PA (17,23). These PAs pro- of the PA, the quality of the products produced by Caltrans vide a list of transportation-related activities that will have no staff has greatly improved. effect on historic properties (including archaeological sites) and allow the DOT to proceed with such activities without The New Jersey SHPO, DOT, and FHWA state office consultation with the SHPO or ACHP. These PAs decrease have a minor project PA, a PA that specifies the terms and the amount of project-by-project Section 106 review, reduc- responsibilities of all three parties in the Section 106 consul- ing the work loads of SHPOs and DOTs and shortening DOT tation process, and an unofficial agreement for the develop- project delivery time. ment of abbreviated archaeological survey reports. The latter agreement is for situations where background research indi- PennDOT has a PA that moves beyond the normal minor cates a low potential for National Register-eligible archaeo- projects agreement. Like most minor project PAs, Pennsyl- logical resources within a project's area of potential effects. vania's includes a list of projects exempt from Section 106 This agreement only applies to surveys conducted by review. The PA also has provisions allowing the DOT's in-house DOT staff. "qualified professionals" to review, without consultation with the SHPO or ACHP, certain categories of projects that One of the most comprehensive PAs developed to date is have no affect on historic properties and are CEs under Vermont's delegation PA. Under this agreement, the Vermont