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Additional Information on Categorical Exclusions

FRA’s list of actions that typically qualify for a Categorical Exclusion (CE) are available at 23 CFR 771.116, and are also listed at the end of the FRA Categorical Exclusion Companion Guide

To determine if a project meets the definition of a CE, project sponsors should review FRA’s list of CEs to see if their project may qualify, then evaluate if their project may include any extraordinary circumstances, may have a significant environmental impact, or require public or stakeholder engagement. 

If a proposed action/project does not fit with one of FRA’s 22 CEs, found at 23 CFR 771.116, and has no significant impacts, FRA will look to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA, 771.117) or Federal Transit Administration (FTA, 771.118) to see if they have a CE that is applicable.

Any proposed action/project qualifying as a CE under 771 may be approved by FRA when the applicable requirements of those sections have been met. FRA may consult with FHWA or FTA to ensure the CE is applicable to the proposed action/project.

Each FRA-funded project will be assigned an FRA Environmental Specialist who will serve as the point of contact during the NEPA process. Throughout the NEPA process, FRA encourages project sponsors to consult with FRA to discuss the applicability of CEs to their proposed action/project and determine the appropriate level of environmental analysis. 

FRA, if the lead agency under NEPA, is ultimately responsible for determining the appropriate class of action (type of NEPA Document) for a project. 

Last updated: Thursday, August 27, 2020