Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Project development

Environmental process | Environmental review | Class II Action

Programmatic Categorical Exclusion (PCE)

Review the Programmatic Categorical Exclusion (PCE) Flowchart to determine which forms to use.


Categorical Exclusions (CATEX) are environmental documents for types of projects that normally do not have a significant effect on the human environment and, therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement normally is required.

A Programmatic Categorical Exclusion (PCE) is a condensed version of a CATEX. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and MnDOT have signed a Programmatic Agreement (PA) which allows MnDOT to make a Categorical Exclusion determination on FHWA’s behalf for projects deemed to be low risk.

When to use this subject

The Programmatic Categorial Exclusion, known as the Short Form CATEX, is used for non-complex, low risk projects, as defined in the regulations.

The Short Form primarily uses check-boxes with little or no writing involved unless certain thresholds are reached requiring additional process and/or documentation in order for the project to be processed as a CATEX. Any additional information or discussion is attached in the appendix. Projects with citation under 23 CFR 771.117(c) use the c-list Short Form. Projects with citation under 23 CFR 771.117(d) use the d-list Short Form. The forms themselves provide process guidance along with the PCE Decision Making Guide.

If a federally funded project is led by a local agency and you are working with MnDOT State Aid, visit their Environmental page for forms and information.

How this subject fits into the overall project development process

The environmental review process for a non-programmatic categorical exclusion begins in scoping  and ends with a categorical exclusion signed by the MnDOT District Engineer and OES Chief Environmental Officer and FHWA Area Engineer. 

Organizations involved