Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Public Law 105-178; 112 Stat. 107; signed June 9, 1998) or TEA-21 or the Highway Act of 1998 as this public law was commonly referred to, authorizes Federal surface transportation programs for highways and provides for transit systems and other projects and programs for a six year period 1998 through 2003, unless otherwise specified. The new law amended the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act and Clean Vessel Act. It also provided specific funds for road work at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge and visitors centers at Sachuest Point and Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuges. It also contained dedicated funding of $20 million each year for fiscal years 1998 through 2003 for National Refuge Roads and separate discretionary funds for National Wildlife Refuges from the Public Lands Highway Program. The new law also requires the Secretary of Transportation, in coordination with the Secretary of the Interior, to study transportation needs of national parks and national wildlife refuges, and contains provisions which will streamline environmental reviews required for highway construction projects. TEA 21 Restoration Act (Title 6, Section 6017 of P.L. 105-206, enacted July 22, 1998) made technical corrections to the original law. The information provided in this summary and other entries in this digest reflect the changes made in the corrections law. Please also see entries for Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act and the Clean Vessel Act.
In addition, the new law:
● Amends the Federal Aid Highway Act to make mitigation banking projects eligible to receive national highway system funds
● Amends title 23 to make funds appropriated to federal land-managing agencies (including FWS) under the federal lands highway programs eligible for the non-federal share of the cost of the project.
● Requires that whenever practicable all environmental reviews, analyses, opinions, permits, licenses or approvals be conducted concurrently and completed within a cooperatively determined time period.
● Provides $20 million dedicated funds for National Wildlife Refuges and a portion of Public Lands Highway discretionary funds.
● Provides the following amounts for the National Wildlife Refuge indicated: Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge ($1,050,000), Phone Island NWR complex ($1 million each year FY 99-03), and Sachuest Point NWR ($500,000).
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