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RULE §25.104Department Routing Designations

(a) Purpose. The department may propose a NRHM route on any road or highway of the state open to the public for the enhancement of public safety in the transportation of NRHM. The department will comply with this section to ensure new or revised NRHM routing designations proposed by the department are properly established.

(b) Costs. The department is responsible for all costs of route development, including proposal preparation and public hearings. The department is responsible for all costs associated with sign fabrication for a NRHM route. The political subdivision that maintains the road or highway shall bear the costs for installation and maintenance of the signs. The department will be responsible for all costs related to sign fabrication, installation, and maintenance when a route is designated on a facility on the state highway system for which the department is responsible for maintenance.

(c) Initial contact. Before initiating a routing study, the department will request the governing bodies of any political subdivision that maintains a road or highway on which the department may designate a NRHM route to submit a resolution indicating whether the political subdivision supports the initiation of the routing study. The department will also contact the regional office of the Texas Department of Public Safety and any other political subdivisions within a 25 mile radius of any point along the proposed NRHM route, and will consult with those entities during the process for determining the best NRHM route. The department may also coordinate with the local emergency planning council or committee.

(d) Route analysis and proposal. The department will fully consider and address in writing all of the federal standards and factors listed in 49 CFR §397.71(b) in the route determination process. When analyzing these standards and factors, the department will use the most current version of the United States Department of Transportation publication entitled Guidelines for Applying Criteria to Designate Routes for Transporting Hazardous Materials or an equivalent routing analysis tool to develop a route proposal. If an equivalent routing analysis tool is used, the department will include in its route proposal a written explanation of how the tool is equivalent to the United States Department of Transportation standards.

(e) Public hearing. The department will hold at least one public hearing on any proposed NRHM routing designation in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Government Code, Chapter 551. The hearing will be held in the department district in which the road or highway that the department proposes to designate a NRHM route is located. Public notification of the hearing will comply with the following criteria.

  (1) The public will be given at least 30 days prior notice of the hearing through publication in the Texas Register and at least one other newspaper of general circulation in the affected area.

  (2) The notice will contain a complete description of the proposed route, including the location, route name, highway number if the route is on the state highway system, and beginning and ending points of the route, together with the date, time, and location of the public hearing.

  (3) The notice will initiate a 30-day public comment period and will inform the public where to send any written comments.

(f) Consultation with other states or Indian tribes. At least 60 days prior to establishing the NRHM routing designation, the department will provide written notice to the officials responsible for NRHM highway routing in all other affected states or Indian tribes. If no response is received within 60 days from the date of receipt of the notification of the proposed routing designation, the routing designation will be considered approved by the affected states or Indian tribes. The department will attempt to resolve any concerns or disagreement expressed by any consulted states or Indian tribes related to the proposed routing designation. If these concerns or disagreements are not resolved, the department will petition the Federal Highway Administration for resolution of the dispute in accordance with 49 CFR §397.75.

(g) Local approval of NRHM routing designations. After completion of the routing study and public hearing, if the proposed NRHM routing designation includes a road or highway that is not part of the state highway system, the department will obtain a written resolution supporting the proposed designation from the governing body of the political subdivision that maintains the road or highway.

(h) Proposal content. The department will prepare a route proposal and a color map of the route. The proposal will include:

  (1) documentation demonstrating compliance with Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 397, Subpart C and this section;

  (2) a complete description of the proposed route; and

  (3) the resolution required by subsection (f) of this section.

(i) Department action. If the department determines that a route has met all criteria for approval, the executive director will submit the NRHM routing designation to the commission for approval in accordance with subsection (j) of this section.

(j) Commission approval. The commission will evaluate and approve the routing designation proposal based on the safety of the traveling public and the following factors and conditions as contained in the most recent version of the United States Department of Transportation publication entitled "Guidelines for Applying Criteria to Designate Routes for Transporting Hazardous Materials" as follows:

  (1) population density;

  (2) the type of highway;

  (3) the results of public participation;

  (4) the type and quantity of NRHM;

  (5) emergency response capabilities;

  (6) exposure and other risk factors;

  (7) terrain considerations;

  (8) continuity of routes;

  (9) alternative routes;

  (10) effects on commerce;

  (11) delays on transportation;

  (12) climatic conditions; and

  (13) congestion and crash history.

(k) Action on approval by commission. Upon approval by the commission, the department will notify the political subdivision with jurisdiction over the road or highway on which the NRHM route is designated and will issue appropriate notice to the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas Department of Public Safety. A political subdivision that is notified of a NRHM route designation shall designate the NRHM route by ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, or other official order, and shall forward a copy of the order to the department.

(l) Route signing. After receipt of the notice of commission's approval, the department will provide the signs for the NRHM route designation. All signs must conform to the latest version of the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Sign installation will be coordinated by the local district office prior to placement.

Source Note: The provisions of this §25.104 adopted to be effective January 8, 1998, 23 TexReg 153.

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