California Department of Transportation

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Stewardship and Oversight Agreement between Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

2015 Agreement

See the latest Stewardship and Oversight Agreement on Project Assumption and Program Oversight between the Federal Highway Administration, California Division and Caltrans for the project actions assumed by Caltrans and the project actions where FHWA has retained their authority as well as the detail associate with various oversight responsibilities.

The “Projects of Division Interest” are those projects that have an elevated risk, contain elements of higher risk, or present an opportunity for FHWA involvement to enhance meeting their program objectives. “Projects of Corporate Interest” are a subset the “Projects of Division Interest” and are projects deemed to be so significant that FHWA is willing to commit additional resources beyond those available at the individual Division level to help ensure successful delivery of the project. These projects use a risk based approach for determining how the individual project actions will be handled and will be identified in accordance with the process outlined in the stewardship agreement and the detailed guidance (that includes descriptions of the types and categorizations) located at:

2010 Agreement


On October 14, 2010 the California Department of Transportation and the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) signed the Joint Stewardship and Oversight Agreement (Agreement). This Agreement supersedes the prior version that had been signed on September 04, 2007.

The purpose of the Agreement is to provide a road map to effectively and efficiently manage the Federal-Aid Highway Program (FAHP) both in terms of program and project delivery. It defines roles and responsibilities, outlines authorities, and assures accountability. The Agreement also defines how Caltrans and the FHWA will utilize a Comprehensive Risk-Based Approach to manage the Federal-Aid Highway Program.

Agreement Summary

Projects for which defined approval authority is delegated to Caltrans are not subject to further approvals by the FHWA, unless it is jointly agreed. However, the FHWA reserves the right to perform reviews of all programs and projects at any time, while maintaining a focus on efficient project delivery. The reviews may include projects or programs with unique features, high-risk elements, unusual circumstances, and those included in process reviews. For the Project Responsibilities List, see Appendix B, Attachment 2, of the Joint Stewardship and Oversight Agreement.

High Profile Projects – Agreement Supplement

While Caltrans will be responsible for approval of project level activities for low risk projects, FHWA will maintain project level approval for High Profile projects. This risk-based approach to project oversight will be conducted in two steps: 1) selecting the projects that traditionally pose a risk to the health of the FAHP (High Profile projects), and 2) within the High Profile projects, further delegating approval authorities in activities that pose a low risk to the individual projects.

The guideline for selecting High Profile projects, signed on February 11, 2008 and amended September 2010, is included as Appendix B in the October 2010 Stewardship Agreement. This document is entitled California Stewardship & Oversight Agreement Approach to Identifying “High Profile” Projects. The goal of these guidelines is to identify High Profile Projects (HPPs) and FHWA approval and involvement early in the Project Identification (Planning)/Initiation (PID) Phase or the Local Assistance “Authorization to Proceed” milestone. Caltrans and FHWA will jointly determine which projects are considered to be HPPs based on a criteria described in this document. The HPP determination will be made at the Caltrans District level in conjunction with the FHWA.

Links and Documentation

This page last updated October 16, 2015