MoDOT monitors all federally funded roadway improvement projects for compliance with Federal regulations concerning the use of public lands, specifically Section 4(f) and Section 6(f) requirements. The benefit to the public is that MoDOT considers the impact on using public land in the planning process, and then attempts to minimize and mitigate when impacts are unavoidable.
What is Section 4(f)?
Section 4(f) refers to the original section within the Department of Transportation (DOT) Act of 1966, which set the requirement for consideration of park and recreational lands, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites in transportation project development. 4(f) resources include any publicly owned park, recreation area, or wildlife refuge or any publicly or privately owned historic site.
Before approving a project that “uses” a Section 4(f) resources, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) must find that there is no prudent and feasible avoidance alternative AND that the selected alternative minimizes harm to the resource. If there is a prudent and feasible alternative that completely avoids 4(f) resources, it must be selected. A feasible and prudent alternative avoids using Section 4(f) property and does not cause other severe problems of a magnitude that outweighs the importance of protecting the Section 4(f) property.
With MoDOT’s recommendation, FHWA decides whether Section 4(f) applies to a resource, reviews assessments of each alternative’s impacts to 4(f) properties, and determines whether the law allows for the selection of a particular alternative after consulting with the Department of the Interior.
What is Section 6(f)?
Section 6(f) is part of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act, which was designed to provide restrictions for public recreation facilities funded with LWCF money. The LWCF Act provides funds for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation facilities that could include community, county, and state parks, trails, fairgrounds, conservation areas, boat ramps, shooting ranges, etc. Facilities that are LWCF-assisted must be maintained for outdoor recreation in perpetuity and therefore require mitigation that includes replacement land of at least equal value and recreation utility.