Infrastructure Advocates Cheer Streamlining Executive Order
"This new executive order will slash the time it takes to get vital new infrastructure projects approved and delivered. At the Department of Transportation, we are already putting the administration's principles into action," Secretary Elaine Chao said this week.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao joined President Donald J. Trump this week as the president signed a new executive order aiming to streamline the permitting and review processes for infrastructure projects. The Executive Order, titled "Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects," streamlines the environmental review system and removes roadblocks to speed up the permitting process. The National Association of Manufacturers and other advocates of a major federal infrastructure initiative from Trump cheered it.
"President Trump's executive order can go a long way towards eliminating unnecessary delays that cause budget overruns," said Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. President and CEO Michael Bellaman. "The principles of creating a coordinated, predictable, and transparent process to streamline permitting will enable the industry to plan and execute even the most complex projects while safeguarding our communities, maintaining a healthy environment, and being good stewards of public funds. The 'lead agency' concept is masterful—a sort of permitting concierge that will shepherd a project through the complex process—and should go a long way towards achieving these goals."
"The average environmental review takes nearly five years, and infrastructure projects can be subject to at least 65 different requirements and permits," Chao said. "This new executive order will slash the time it takes to get vital new infrastructure projects approved and delivered. At the Department of Transportation, we are already putting the administration's principles into action. We've identified more than two dozen policies and rules that will streamline project delivery and environmental permitting. We also launched our INFRA grant program to reflect the priorities outlined in the president's infrastructure initiative, such as incorporating more funding from state, local, and private partners, encouraging the use of innovative permitting authorities, and bringing greater accountability into the process."
"Together, our goal is to ensure greater impact for every dollar spent, faster project delivery, better performance and a balanced approach that reaches the entire country, urban and rural alike," Chao added.
The order allows OMB, in consultation with Federal Permitting Improvement Screening Council agencies, to establish a Cross Agency Priority goal for environmental reviews and permitting of infrastructure projects. OMB will develop a quarterly scorecard of agency progress in meeting the goals, and progress will be tracked on performance.gov, according to DOT.
The order also requires major infrastructure projects to be processed as "One Federal Decision," with a comprehensive schedule and automatic elevation to senior agency officials upon missing or extending a milestone.