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Measuring the performance of multi-agency programmatic permits for Washington State Department of Transportation activities

Abstract

In 2001, the Washington State Legislature established the Transportation Permit Efficiency and Accountability Committee (TPEAC) to identify measures to streamline permit procedures for transportation activities and improve environmental outcomes. A programmatic subcommittee was created to develop a multi-agency approach for developing programmatic permits that would cover 60 to 70 percent of Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) activities (mostly maintenance and preservation work). The subcommittee envisioned that the process for developing programmatic permits would involve establishing common conditions between jurisdictional agencies for similar categories of transportation-related activities. Agreement on common conditions would lead to programmatic permit approval issued by each agency that would cover the subject activities as they occur throughout the state. Agencies involved in this effort included NOAA Fisheries, USFWS, Corps, Washington State Departments of Ecology and Fish and Wildlife, local agency representatives and tribe representatives. In July 2004, the subcommittee had completed developing multi-agency programmatic approval for bridge and ferry terminal painting and washing, bridge and ferry terminal deck replacement, bridge and ferry terminal maintenance and repair, fish way maintenance, channel maintenance, culvert maintenance, culvert replacement, LWD removal from bridges, beaver dam removal, sediment test boring in all state waters, and 40 pile replacement in marine water. Much of this work was performed in the field during 2004 using programmatic permit coverage. In January 2005, WSDOT received and compiled information regarding the performance of these programmatic permits during the 2004 calendar year. This presentation compares the performance results from 2004 with the initial goals and expectations established by the subcommittee (mainly focusing on percent activities covered). The presentation further expands on results including time and cost savings for both WSDOT and permit agencies, environmental benefit, and other lessons learned.

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