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ETDM Public Access

Due to public concern about delays in approving and implementing transportation projects (often 10-15 years), the U.S. Congress passed legislation in July 1999 entitled the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). This contained several provisions requiring the "streamlining" of the transportation planning process. Some of the key objectives within TEA-21 included:

  • Effective/timely decision making without compromising environmental quality
  • Integrating review and permitting processes
  • Early National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) reviews and approvals
  • Full and early participation
  • Meaningful dispute resolution
In an effort to comply with the "streamlining" provisions within TEA-21, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) began to reexamine the entire process from transportation planning through project development and permitting. Through consultation with federal regulatory agencies and several dedicated working groups, the new Efficient Transportation Decision Making (ETDM) Process was documented in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by participating planning, regulatory, and resource agencies in December 2001. Through the use of the ETDM process, agency participation with the planning and development of transportation projects occurs earlier and is continued throughout the project. This allows the agencies to identify potential issues with a project and coordinate with FDOT for earlier resolutions as they focus on making transportation decisions more quickly without sacrificing the quality of human and natural environments.

Benefits of the ETDM process:
  • Improved Agency Coordination and Consultation
    The ETDM process creates a "teamwork" atmosphere among the FDOT, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and environmental resource agencies by involving each group early in the planning phase so that all parties are aware of a project’s need and potential effects.

  • Improved Long Range Transportation Planning
    MPOs are made aware of potential project effects earlier than before the ETDM process was implemented. This allows the MPOs to modify or remove those projects from consideration from their Long Range Transportation Plans.

  • Focused Evaluations During Project Development
    Based on comments received from agencies early in the ETDM process, FDOT is able to develop scopes of services which are more focused on key project issues. This helps to save time and money through the ability to "tailor" a scope of services for a particular project.

  • Improved Dispute Resolution Process
    Early coordination between FDOT, MPOs, and environmental resource agencies allows for earlier identification of potential disputes and allows the participants to eliminate unnecessary studies of "problem" alternatives in the project development phase.

  • Less Costly Environmental Studies and Documentation
    Because the ETDM process identifies potential issues early, it potentially allows for a more accurate environmental class of action to be identified. This results in a potential cost savings by preventing any unnecessary work from being conducted.

  • Shortened Project Delivery
    Procedures within the ETDM process provide greater ease of communication between FDOT and participating agencies. Faster reviews will allow faster completion of projects.

  • Better Access to Information
    The creation of an internet-accessible ETDM database has allowed some participating agencies to use the interactive tools on the website for other community planning initiatives without having to purchase additional software or applications.

  • Enhanced Coordination within FDOT
    In particular, ETDM allows for better coordination between Districts, when projects cross District boundaries.

FDOT has made available an ETDM Public Access site where comments from participating agencies can be viewed for a particular project and projects can be tracked as they progress through the ETDM process. In order to view information about the Gulf Coast Parkway project, choose the "Project Number" search option under "Project Search" and enter 7559.