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RULE §2.51Deferral of Review

(a) Deferral. Not later than 20 days after the date that the project sponsor submits an EA or FEIS, the department delegate may defer undertaking administrative completeness review and technical review of the document if the department delegate, in its sole discretion, determines that it lacks resources to timely review and process all environmental review documents and documentation of categorical exclusion that have been, or are expected to be submitted for review. On deferral, the review deadlines set forth in §2.48 of this subchapter (relating to Administrative Completeness Review) and §2.50 of this subchapter (relating to Deadlines for Completing Certain Types of Technical Reviews; Suspension of Review Deadlines) do not apply.

(b) Projects eligible for deferral. The only types of environmental review documents that are subject to possible deferral under this section are EAs and FEISs. However, the department delegate may not defer review of an EA or FEIS for any project for which a local government sponsor has paid a fee under §2.46 of this subchapter (relating to Optional Payment of Fee by Local Government).

(c) Notice to project sponsor. The department delegate will provide written notice to the project sponsor of any determination to defer review of a document under this section.

(d) Deadline for review of deferred projects. The department delegate will render an environmental decision on a project for which review of the environmental review document is deferred under this section not later than one year before the date that is planned for publishing notice to let the construction contract for the project, as indicated in whichever of the following documents was most recently approved:

  (1) the financially constrained portion of the approved:

    (A) state transportation improvement program; or

    (B) unified transportation program; or

  (2) a commission order identifying the project as being eligible for environmental review.

(e) Date planned for publishing letting notice. If the date planned for publishing letting notice described in subsection (d) of this section is identified in the applicable document only by the fiscal year, for the purposes of this subsection the date is September 1 of the previous year. If it is identified only by the calendar year, for the purposes of this subsection the date is January 1 of that year. If it is identified only by month and year, for the purposes of this section it is the first day of that month.

(f) No waiting period for letting. Subsection (d) of this section does not require the project sponsor to wait any amount of time after the department delegate renders an environmental decision before letting the construction contract for the project.

Source Note: The provisions of this §2.51 adopted to be effective April 16, 2012, 37 TexReg 1727; amended to be effective April 16, 2014, 39 TexReg 2941

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