TDOT is committed to an approach to project development that provides for early and ongoing consideration of the environmental effects of state-funded projects for which NEPA does not apply. State-funded transportation projects that require the acquisition of right-of-way and/or the construction of new roadways and other transportation facilities are subjected to a rigorous environmental review that is documented in a Tennessee Environmental Evaluation Report (to be referred to as a TEER) that is made available for public review. The TDOT approach to evaluating state-funded projects includes early identification and evaluation of potential environmental consequences, consultation with affected agencies and the public, and the development of measures to avoid, minimize and/or mitigate the adverse effects of state-funded projects on the natural and human environments of Tennessee. Approval of the environmental evaluation rests with the Commissioner of Transportation.
This manual is also intended to assist in the preparation of the environmental evaluation of state-funded projects.
Figure 1.6 illustrates the general flow of activities that should occur during the environmental evaluation process. Not all of these activities are conducted sequentially; some occur simultaneously, or may be repeated as necessary. The length of time and the number of steps required to conduct the environmental review process are dictated by the size or complexity of the project, the level of controversy and the amount of coordination necessary.
The TEER process is described in greater detail in Chapter 10 of this manual.