Planning and Environment Linkages

Created by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Planning and Environment Linkage (PEL) studies provide a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision making that considers benefits and impacts of proposed transportation systems to the community, economy and environment during the planning process. PEL allows a transportation agency to adopt or incorporate directly or by reference products, analyses and decisions developed during a planning study into subsequent NEPA documents when certain conditions are met. This is intended to significantly reduce the amount of time that it takes to complete the NEPA review process and move into project implementation. Much of this benefit can be attributed to the early identification of stakeholders, engagement with non-transportation agency decision makers, and fostering of relationships among agencies and the public. 

PEL studies are recommended when projects:

  • Are regionally significant
  • Need to respond to community context
  • Are likely to have environmental constraints
  • Are likely to be costly
  • May be controversial

The Vergennes PEL Study will be advanced through the following activities:

  • Task 1: Project Kick-off and Scope of Work Refinement
  • Task 2: Purpose and Need Statement
  • Task 3: Transportation Alternatives Initial Screening
  • Task 4: Alternatives Refinement
  • Task 5: Develop Integrated Transportation and Land Use Alternatives
  • Task 6: Alternatives Evaluation and Recommendations
  • Task 7: Implementation Plan
  • Task 8: Draft and Final PEL Reports

PEL projects are relatively new to Vermont.  The Vergennes PEL study is the second such study in Vermont, behind the Burlington Railyard Enterprise Project which was completed in 2020.