Additional Information on Categorical Exclusions
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.
- Study or project area maps showing the project footprint;
- Technical studies to support analysis and conclusions in the CE worksheet; and
- Written correspondence or consultation with resource agencies and/or project stakeholders if completed.
- Document the entire scope of work, including any temporary or construction-related impacts.
- Document all references, data sources, or methodologies used to support your analysis. This may include mapping tools, resources studies, or written correspondence.
- Document analysis and justification for why there is no impact to the resource under consideration.
- Several desktop review tools are available to assist with the identification of environmental resources in your project area and are found at the Environmental Weblinks section of FRA’s Recommended Trainings and Resources page.