[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 185 (Tuesday, September 23, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54884-54888]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-22131]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2008-0053]


Surface Transportation Project Delivery Pilot Program; Caltrans 
Audit Report.

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Final report.

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SUMMARY: Section 6005 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) established 
the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Pilot Program, codified at 
23 U.S.C. 327. To ensure compliance by each State participating in the 
Pilot Program, 23 U.S.C. 327(g) mandates semiannual audits during each 
of the first 2 years of State participation. This final report presents 
the findings from the first FHWA audit of the California Department of 
Transportation (Caltrans) under the pilot program.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Ruth Rentch, Office of Project 
Development and Environmental Review, (202) 366-2034, 
Ruth.Rentch@dot.gov, or Mr. Michael Harkins, Office of the Chief 
Counsel, (202) 366-4928, Michael.Harkins@dot.gov, Federal Highway 
Administration, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, 
SE., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 
p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Electronic Access

    An electronic copy of this notice may be downloaded from the Office 
of the Federal Register's home page at http://www.archives.gov and the 
Government Printing Office's Web site at http://www.access.gpo.gov.

Background

    Section 6005 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (codified at 
23 U.S.C. 327) established a pilot program to allow up to five States 
to assume the Secretary of Transportation's responsibilities for 
environmental review, consultation, or other actions under any Federal 
environmental law pertaining to the review or approval of highway 
projects. In order to be selected for the pilot program, a State must 
submit an application to the Secretary.
    On June 29, 2007, Caltrans and FHWA entered into a Memorandum of 
Understanding (MOU) that established the assignments to and assumptions 
of responsibility to Caltrans. Under the MOU, Caltrans assumed the 
majority of FHWA's responsibilities under the National Environmental 
Policy Act, as well as the FHWA's responsibilities under other Federal 
environmental laws for most highway projects in California.
    To ensure compliance by each State participating in the Pilot 
Program, 23 U.S.C. 327(g) requires the Secretary to conduct semiannual 
audits during each of the first 2 years of State participation; and 
annual audits during each subsequent year of State participation. The 
results of each audit must be presented in the form of an audit report 
and be made available for public comment. The FHWA solicited comments 
on the first audit report in a Federal Register Notice published on 
June 2, 2008, at 73 FR 31536. The FHWA received one comment which was 
supportive of the draft audit report. This notice provides the final 
draft of the first FHWA audit report for Caltrans under the pilot 
program.

    Authority: Section 6005 of Pub. L. 109-59; 23 U.S.C. 315 and 
327.


[[Page 54885]]


    Issued on: September 16, 2008.
Thomas J. Madison, Jr.,
Federal Highway Administrator.

Surface Transportation Project Delivery Pilot Program--FHWA Audit of 
Caltrans, January 29-31, 2008

Background

    The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity 
Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) section 6005(a) established the 
Surface Transportation Project Delivery Pilot Program (Pilot Program), 
codified at Title 23, United States Code (U.S.C.), section 327. The 
Section 6005 Pilot Program allows the Secretary to assign, and the 
State to assume, the Secretary of Transportation's (Secretary) 
responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for 
one or more highway projects. Upon assigning NEPA responsibilities, the 
Secretary may further assign to the State all or part of the 
Secretary's responsibilities for environmental review, consultation, or 
other action required under any Federal environmental law pertaining to 
the review of a specific highway project. When a State assumes the 
Secretary's responsibilities under this program, the State becomes 
solely responsible and liable for carrying out the responsibilities it 
has assumed, in lieu of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
    To ensure compliance by each State participating in the Pilot 
Program, 23 U.S.C. 327(g) mandates that FHWA, on behalf of the 
Secretary, conduct semiannual audits during each of the first 2 years 
of State participation; and annual audits during each subsequent year 
of State participation. The focus of the FHWA audits is to assess a 
pilot State's compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) \1\ 
and applicable Federal laws and policies, to collect information needed 
to evaluate the success of the Pilot Program, to evaluate pilot State 
progress toward achieving its performance measures, and to collect 
information needed for the Secretary's annual report to Congress on the 
administration of the Pilot Program. Additionally, 23 U.S.C. 327(g) 
requires FHWA to present the results of each audit in the form of an 
audit report. This audit report was published in the Federal Register 
June 2, 2008, at 73 FR 31536 with a request for comments (Docket Number 
FHWA-2008-0053). The 60-day comment period closed August 1, 2008, with 
one comment received. In compliance with 23 U.S.C. 327(g)B, FHWA has 
responded to the comment and published the final report in the Federal 
Register no later than 60 days after the date on which the period for 
public comment closed.
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    \1\ Caltrans MOU available at http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/
strmlng/safe_cdot_pilot.asp.
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    The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) published 
its Application for Assumption (Application) under the Pilot Program on 
March 14, 2007, and made it available for public comment for 30 days. 
After considering public comments, Caltrans submitted its application 
to FHWA on May 21, 2007, and FHWA, after soliciting the views of other 
Federal agencies, reviewed and approved the application. Then on June 
29, 2007, Caltrans and FHWA entered into an MOU that established the 
assignments to and assumptions of responsibility to Caltrans, which 
became effective July 1, 2007. Under the MOU, Caltrans assumed the 
majority of FHWA's responsibilities under NEPA, as well as FHWA's 
responsibilities under other Federal environmental laws for most 
highway projects in California. Caltrans' participation in the Pilot 
Program will be effective through August 2011.
    In order to meet the audit requirements specified in SAFETEA-LU, 
FHWA contracted with consultants who have expertise in compliance 
auditing to assist FHWA in developing the audit processes and 
procedures for the Pilot Program. Training was provided to the audit 
team, FHWA, and Caltrans staff in two phases:
    1. Basics of Compliance Auditing (January 2007); and
    2. Development of the Pilot Program Audit Process and Procedures 
(August 2007).
    The August 2007 audit training included specific Pilot Program 
auditing processes and procedures. The auditors received training on 
each core audit area to be evaluated during FHWA audits of each pilot 
State's Program. The core audit areas to be evaluated are: Program 
management; records and documentation management; quality control and 
quality assurance processes; legal sufficiency; performance measures; 
and training.

Scope of the Audit

    The Caltrans' Pilot Program audit was conducted by the FHWA audit 
team in California from January 29 through January 31, 2008. The audit, 
as required in SAFETEA-LU, assessed Caltrans' compliance with the roles 
and responsibilities it assumed in the MOU and also provided 
recommendations to assist Caltrans in creating a successful Pilot 
Program.
    As this was the first FHWA audit of Caltrans' participation in the 
Pilot Program, it was designed to begin the audit sampling process. The 
audit sample included fundamental processes and procedures the State 
put in place to carry out the assumptions of the roles and 
responsibilities set forth in the MOU. Key sample areas included Pilot 
Program staffing resources, training, legal sufficiency, and the 
implementation of processes and procedures to support assumed 
responsibilities. The sampling process also included a geographic 
element, as the audit included onsite visits to two Caltrans locations, 
the Caltrans Headquarters office in Sacramento, and its District 4 
Office in Oakland. Future audits will include onsite visits to other 
Caltrans Districts.
    While the six core audit areas identified and discussed during the 
August 2007 training serve as the basis for each Pilot Program audit, 
it is not expected that each audit will address all six core audit 
areas. For the first audit, FHWA selected core audit areas for review 
based on professional auditing experience, statistical techniques 
(where appropriate), interviews with Federal resource agencies, and an 
evaluation of background information provided by Caltrans prior to the 
onsite audit. All Pilot Program areas for which compliance is required 
under the MOU will be evaluated cumulatively by FHWA in future audits. 
Future FHWA Pilot Program audits will also follow up on findings from 
previous FHWA Pilot Program audits.

Audit Process and Implementation

    Each FHWA audit conducted under the Pilot Program is designed to 
ensure a pilot State's compliance with the commitments in its MOU with 
FHWA. FHWA will not evaluate specific project-related decisions made by 
the State as these decisions are the sole responsibility of the pilot 
State. However, the scope of the FHWA audits does include reviewing the 
processes and procedures used by the pilot State to reach project 
decisions in compliance with MOU Section 3.2.
    Also, Caltrans committed in its Application (which is incorporated 
into the MOU in section 1.1.2) to implement specific processes to 
strengthen its environmental procedures in order to assume the 
responsibilities assigned by FHWA under the Pilot Program. The FHWA 
Pilot Program audits will review how Caltrans is meeting each of these 
commitments as well as the

[[Page 54886]]

performance of the Pilot Program in the core audit areas previously 
described.
    The Caltrans' Pilot Program commitments address:
     Organization and Procedures under the Pilot Program
     Expanded Quality Control Procedures
     Independent Environmental Decisionmaking
     Determining the NEPA Class of Action
     Consultation and Coordination with Resource Agencies
     Issue Identification and Conflict Resolution Procedures
     Record Keeping and Retention
     Expanded Internal Monitoring and Process Reviews
     Performance Measures To Assess the Pilot Program
     Training To Implement the Pilot Program
     Legal Sufficiency Review
    The FHWA audit team included representatives from the following 
offices or agencies:
     FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental 
Review
     FHWA Office of Chief Counsel
     FHWA Alaska Division Office
     FHWA Resource Center Environmental Team
     Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
     Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
    From January 29 through January 31, 2008, the audit team conducted 
the onsite audit and evaluated the core Pilot Program areas associated 
with program management, training, records and documentation 
management, and legal sufficiency at both Caltrans Headquarters and 
District level. The onsite audit consisted of interviews with more than 
40 Caltrans staff at Headquarters and in the Districts for both the 
Capital and Local Assistance programs, as well as 11 members of 
Caltrans' legal staff at Headquarters and in field offices. The audit 
team interviewed a cross-section of staff including top senior 
managers, senior environmental planners, associate planners, and 
technical experts. Caltrans staff at several Districts were contacted 
by telephone and a portion of the audit team visited the District 4 
Office in Oakland. The team also reviewed project documentation 
associated with the projects provided to the FHWA California Division 
Office.
    FHWA acknowledges that Caltrans identified specific issues during 
its first self-assessment performed under the Pilot Program as required 
under MOU section 8.2.6. During the FHWA onsite audit, Caltrans 
indicated that it had begun to implement corrective actions to address 
some issues identified in its first self-assessment. Some issues 
identified in the Caltrans self-assessment may overlap with FHWA 
findings in this audit report. In part, FHWA conducts each Pilot 
Program audit to evaluate assumed responsibilities and to obtain 
evidence to support the basis for each audit finding. Therefore, this 
audit report documents findings within the scope of the audit and as of 
the dates of the onsite portion of the audit. FHWA does acknowledge 
that some deficiencies identified in this audit report occurred during 
the first 3 months of Pilot Program operations.
    In accordance with MOU section 11.4.1, FHWA provided Caltrans with 
a 30-day comment period to review this draft report. FHWA has reviewed 
the comments received from Caltrans and has revised sections of the 
draft report where appropriate.

Overall Audit Opinion

    As this is a Pilot Program, it is expected that a learning curve is 
required. As such, Caltrans has made reasonable progress in 
implementing the start-up phase of Pilot Program operations and 
Caltrans is learning how to operate this new Pilot Program effectively. 
Based on the information reviewed, it is the audit team's opinion that 
to date, Caltrans has been carrying out the responsibilities it has 
assumed in keeping with the intent of the MOU. The Pilot Program in 
California is proceeding through the start-up phase. During the onsite 
audit, Caltrans staff and management indicated ongoing interest in 
obtaining constructive feedback on successes and areas for improvement. 
By addressing the findings in this report, Caltrans will help move the 
program toward success.

Findings

    The FHWA audit team carefully examined Pilot Program areas to 
assess compliance in accordance with established criteria (i.e., MOU, 
Application for Assumption). The time period covered in this first 
audit report is from the start of the Pilot Program (July 1, 2007) 
through completion of the first onsite audit (January 31, 2008). This 
report presents audit findings in three areas:
     Compliant--Audit verified that a process, procedure or 
other component of the Pilot Program meets a stated commitment in the 
Application for Assumption and/or MOU.
     Needs Improvement--Audit determined that a process, 
procedure or other component of the Pilot Program as specified in the 
Application for Assumption and/or MOU is not fully implemented to 
achieve the stated commitment or the process or procedure implemented 
is not functioning at a level necessary to ensure the stated commitment 
is satisfied. Action is recommended to ensure success.
     Deficient--Audit was unable to verify if a process, 
procedure or other component of the Pilot Program met the stated 
commitment in the Application for Assumption and/or MOU. Action is 
required to improve the process, procedure or other component prior to 
the next audit; or
    Audit determined that a process, procedure or other component of 
the Pilot Program did not meet the stated commitment in the Application 
for Assumption and/or MOU. Corrective action is required prior to the 
next audit.

Summary Findings

Findings--Compliant

    (C1) Legal Sufficiency--Caltrans' Legal Division has developed a 
consistent process to conduct formal legal sufficiency reviews by 
attorneys (per 23 Code of Federal Regulations Sec. Sec.  771.125(b) and 
771.135 (k) \2\) and has provided basic legal sufficiency training to 
each reviewing attorney, in compliance with MOU section 8.2.5 and 
Section 773.106(b)(3)(iii) of Caltrans' Application. (Note: An 
evaluation of the implementation of the legal sufficiency review 
process could not be performed because no legal sufficiency 
determinations had been completed under the Pilot Program as of the 
date of the FHWA audit.)
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    \2\ Effective April 11, 2008, FHWA's Section 4(f) regulation has 
been re-codified as 23 CFR part 774. The legal sufficiency review 
requirement for Final Section 4(f) Evaluations is now found at 23 
CFR 774.7(d).
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    (C2) Establish Pilot Program Policies and Procedures--Caltrans 
currently, in general, complies with MOU section 1.1.2 commitments to 
establish Pilot Program policy and procedural documentation (as 
detailed in Caltrans' Application).
    Pilot Program policies and procedures are described in the 
Caltrans' Application sections ``Overview of Caltrans'' Standard 
Environmental Reference (SER),'' ``Other Guidance,'' and ``Appendix 
C.'' Caltrans maintains the SER, a four volume Environmental handbook, 
as a single on-line policy and procedural reference focusing on 
statutory and regulatory requirements for environmental documents, 
supporting technical studies, and the

[[Page 54887]]

procedures for processing these reports. The SER addresses compliance 
with NEPA, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and other 
applicable Federal and State laws, executive orders, regulations, 
guidance documents, and policies. Caltrans added Chapter 38: ``NEPA 
Delegation,'' to Volume 1 of the SER to include the majority of the 
policies and procedures associated with administering the Pilot 
Program. However, other sections in the SER including ``Policy Memos'' 
contain information on the Pilot Program. In addition to the SER, a 
number of manuals and other forms of guidance on Caltrans Web sites 
include information on various aspects of processes associated with the 
Pilot Program. Most notably, Chapter 6 of the Local Assistance Program 
Manual for Local Assistance Projects Off the State Highway System 
provides detailed guidance on preparing environmental documents for 
local agency projects and also refers users to the SER.
    (C3) Background NEPA Training--Caltrans' existing Environmental 
Staff Development Program, outlined in the Application, has processes 
in place to ensure that Environmental Staff involved in NEPA 
documentation have the underlying foundational skill sets required in 
addition to the added skills required to address responsibilities under 
the Pilot Program. To achieve this, the Environmental Staff Development 
Program includes numerous processes, including an annual needs 
assessment, to evaluate the training needs of the environmental staff 
at each of Caltrans' 12 districts. These processes help to ensure 
ongoing compliance with the overall Caltrans' Application commitment to 
ongoing staff development. (Note: Specific skills required for the 
Pilot Program are discussed under separate findings.)
    (C4) Training Plan--Caltrans conducted a training needs assessment 
specific to the Pilot Program and developed a training plan titled 
``Caltrans Surface Transportation Project Delivery Pilot Program 
Training Plan (Oct. 1, 2007)'' in compliance with section 12.1.2 of the 
MOU.
    (C5) Interagency Agreements that Involve Signatories in Addition to 
FHWA and Caltrans--Caltrans complied with MOU section 5.1.5 as it 
pertains to the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106 
Programmatic Agreement (PA). Caltrans completed addenda to the PA 
within 6 months after the effective date of the MOU to reflect 
Caltrans' assignment of authority under the Pilot Program.
    (C6) State Commitment of Resources--The initial evaluation of 
resources to implement the Pilot Program and the assignment of 
resources, as of the date of the first audit, is compliant with MOU 
section 4.2.2, as demonstrated by:
    a. Creation of eight new Caltrans positions (Person Years or PY, 
equivalent to the Federal Full Time Equivalent or FTE) to support Pilot 
Program implementation. These new positions include two in the Caltrans 
Headquarters Division of Environmental Analysis (one NEPA Delegation 
Manager, one Statewide Audit Coordinator) and six new positions in the 
Caltrans Division of Local Assistance, Office of NEPA Delegation and 
Environmental Procedures (one Local Assistance NEPA Delegation and 
Environmental Coordinator and five Local Assistance NEPA Delegation 
Coordinators).
    b. Assigning additional responsibilities to existing Caltrans 
Headquarters staff in the areas of Legal Sufficiency, Training, and 
Local Assistance, as well as expanding the responsibilities of four 
Environmental Coordinators. To date, these responsibilities have been 
accommodated within the work schedules of these positions.
    c. Continuing and expanding the use of technical specialists (e.g., 
Biologists, Cultural Resource specialists) and generalists (e.g., 
Senior Environmental Planners) from Caltrans' Capital Projects section 
to assist, as needed, Caltrans' Local Assistance section with the 
review and approval of NEPA program elements. The reallocation of 
resources is conducted on an ongoing basis to meet needs (under the 
Pilot Program and in general) as they are identified.
    d. Maintaining organizational and staffing capabilities to 
effectively carry out the responsibilities assumed under MOU sections 
4.2.2 and 4.2.3 pertaining to section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act.

Findings--Needs Improvement

    (N1) Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) Process 
Implementation--The Caltrans QA/QC process developed to comply with MOU 
section 8.2.5 has not been consistently implemented for all projects 
assumed under the Pilot Program. Caltrans personnel did not demonstrate 
a consistent understanding of the steps in the QA/QC process. As staff 
use and apply the QA/QC procedures, Caltrans needs to actively monitor 
conformance with its procedures and, as needed, assess and correct the 
root causes behind areas of weakness in execution.
    (N2) QA/QC Process Related to SER Chapter 38 Procedural and Policy 
Changes--MOU section 8.2.5 requires that Caltrans carry out regular QA/
QC activities to ensure that the assumed responsibilities are conducted 
in accordance with the MOU. While some SER procedural and policy 
changes are addressed through memoranda or e-mails based on the level 
of importance, no system existed at the time of the audit to track all 
policy changes, thereby affecting the QA/QC of SER changes. The audit 
identified that a recent revision to SER Chapter 38 resulted in the 
erroneous omission of Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) from the 
list of environmental documents required to include a statement on the 
document cover page regarding Caltrans' assumption of responsibility 
under 23 U.S.C. 327 and MOU section 3.2.5.
    (N3) Environmental Document Protocols--Class of Action 
Determination--The audit team was unable to identify through a review 
of Pilot Program policies and procedures specified in SER Chapter 38 
how a class of action determination is documented. Caltrans staff 
interviewed indicated that an informal agreement exists to use e-mail 
correspondence to document decisions on class of action determinations. 
It is recommended that Caltrans acknowledge in SER Chapter 38 
acceptable options for documentation of class of action determinations.
    (N4) Documentation of Pilot Program Procedures in SER 38--SER 
Chapter 38 requires that the signatory of each environment document be 
informed of the completion of the environmental document QA/QC review 
process before signing the document. It is recommended that Caltrans 
acknowledge in SER Chapter 38 acceptable options to convey the 
recommendation to the signatory official that all QA/QC review 
certification forms have been completed.
    (N5) Execution of the Legal Sufficiency Review Process--The first 
environmental document submitted for formal legal sufficiency review 
was not submitted in accordance with the procedures specified in the 
October 15, 2007, memorandum titled: ``Procedures for Determining Legal 
Sufficiency for Environmental Documents under the NEPA Pilot Program'' 
(nor, by reference, DEA's July 2, 2007, memorandum, ``Environmental 
Document Quality Control Program under the NEPA Pilot Program''). As 
this new process comes into use, Caltrans should actively monitor 
conformance and provide additional training as needed.
    (N6) Pilot Program Self-Assessment--Caltrans' self-assessment 
process needs

[[Page 54888]]

improvement to ensure it fully complies with MOU section 8.2.6. 
Specifically, the first self-assessment conducted by Caltrans under the 
Pilot Program did not correlate each identified issue needing 
improvement to the corrective action(s) taken to address each issue.

Findings--Deficient

    (D1) QA/QC Process--Caltrans requires each environmental document 
to be reviewed according to the policy memo titled ``Environmental 
Document Quality Control Program under the NEPA Pilot Program (July 2, 
2007).'' Several deficiencies exist with the quality control process 
detailed in the aforementioned policy memo, SER Chapter 38, and as 
required by MOU section 8.2.5. These deficiencies are:
    a. Completion of Quality Control Certification Forms. The required 
Internal and External Certification forms used in the environmental 
document review process were not consistently completed prior to the 
approval of each environmental document. The QC policy memo requires 
that ``all staff personnel who have served as a reviewer on a project 
document shall sign a Quality Control Certification Form at the 
conclusion of their review. The reviewer's signature certifies that the 
document meets professional standards and Federal and State 
requirements in the reviewer's area of expertise, and is consistent 
with the SER and annotated outlines.'' Seven of 11 documents examined 
identified where the signatory approved the environmental document 
prior to the completion of the document review process (i.e., before 
the Quality Control Certification Form was completed).
    b. Inconsistent Completion of the Environmental Document 
Preparation and Review Tool Checklist and the Resource/Technical 
Specialist Review Certification on the Internal and External Quality 
Control Certification Forms. For EAs and EISs, the specific resource 
topics identified in the Environmental Document Preparation and Review 
Tool Checklist were not always consistent with the resource topics 
indicated on the Resource/Technical Specialist Review Certification 
forms for the same document.
    c. The Peer Reviewer for 3 of 11 environmental documents examined 
under the audit did not meet the requirement in SER Chapter 38 to be 
``a staff member who has not participated in, supervised or technically 
reviewed the project.''
    (D2) Pilot Program Self-Assessment--Caltrans' self-assessment 
process failed to fully comply with MOU section 8.2.6 which requires 
the identification of ``any areas needing improvement.'' The Caltrans 
self-assessment (which reviewed the completion of the Quality Control 
Certification forms) did not identify that in some cases the peer 
reviewer function was not performed according to SER Chapter 38 policy. 
The policy requires an independent review by environmental staff not 
otherwise involved in the project. The self assessment did not identify 
that on 3 of 11 QA/QC certification forms (reviewed under this audit 
and the self assessment) used on EA and EIS projects, the person 
signing as the peer reviewer also signed as a technical expert.
    (D3) Records Management--The project filing system in place at 
District 4 did not meet the Caltrans Uniform Filing System requirements 
as specified in the ``Record Keeping and Retention'' section of the 
Caltrans Application. This determination was made by the Audit Team 
through interviews with district personnel during the on-site audit. 
The Uniform Filing System is the records management method chosen by 
Caltrans to comply with the records retention requirements in MOU 
section 8.3. This filing system was not in use and was not implemented 
as described in the Application and SER Chapter 38.
    (D4) Statement Regarding Assumption of Responsibility--MOU section 
3.2.5 requires language regarding Caltrans' assumption of 
responsibility under 23 U.S.C. 327 be included on the cover page of 
each environmental document for all assumed Pilot Program projects. The 
cover pages for two Draft EIS documents and one EA reviewed during the 
audit did not include this required statement.

Response to Comments and Finalization of Report

    Only one comment was received by FHWA during the 60-day comment 
period for the draft audit report. This comment was submitted by the 
Caltrans on July 31, 2008. Caltrans wished to thank FHWA for the 
opportunity to participate in the pilot program, an ``opportunity to 
test a new model for implementing the Secretary of transportation's 
environmental responsibilities.'' Caltrans also stated that their 
relationship with FHWA continues to be ``strong and healthy.'' Their 
comment also stated that they were pleased with the FHWA audit opinion. 
They take the pilot program responsibilities and commitments seriously 
and appreciate FHWA's audit input and findings as they assist Caltrans 
in continuous improvement.
    The FHWA feels that there was no need to revise the draft audit 
report findings to be responsive to this comment, with the exception of 
making the ``Background'' section current and the addition of this 
section.

[FR Doc. E8-22131 Filed 9-22-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P