The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) responded to the federal call in the late 1990s to streamline the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by (1) implementing organizational and procedural changes internal to the agency, (2) funding ODOT-dedicated staff positions in state and federal resource agencies, and (3) convening regular meetings with state and federal agencies with NEPA-related regulatory responsibilities. This latter effort evolved into the CETAS (Collaborative Environmental and Transportation Agreement for Streamlining) process that includes a management and a technical team element.
This project assessed the effectiveness of these efforts. Phase I of the study was designed to document the perceptions and behaviors in ODOT employees at the onset of ODOT organizational and procedural changes and to compare the responses to ones obtained from ODOT employees after some passage of time. Phase II of the study was designed to assess the effectiveness of the CETAS process and documents factors that affect project timelines in Oregon state highway projects for pre-CETAS projects. For reasons explained in the final report, the comparisons before and after implementation of these major changes was difficult. Important baseline information was obtained, however.