On Dec. 4, President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (H.R. 22
) into law, which included ABC-supported provisions that streamline the process for developers trying to obtain environmental permits and approvals for their projects.
The law revises the process for federal approval of major infrastructure projects by requiring coordination between federal agencies during the review process, creating an online “dashboard” to track the status of projects under review and shortening the period for challenges to final decisions for issuing project permits. Additionally, agencies will be allowed to accept state-level environmental reviews that are deemed adequate, saving time by avoiding a duplicate review process.
ABC has supported similar regulatory reform measures in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. In a letter
to House lawmakers, ABC explained, “Hundreds of major federal projects have been unnecessarily delayed or abandoned, resulting in millions of jobs being deferred or never created because of a dysfunctional permitting system. This legislation would provide a streamlined process for developers to obtain environmental permits and approvals for their projects in a timely and efficient manner, fostering job creation and economic growth in the process.” Additionally, ABC supported
a similar permitting measure in the Senate as a part of a multi-industry coalition, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The provisions were included in a larger package negotiated between the House and Senate conferees to reauthorize funds for federal highway and transit programs, also known as the highway bill. Under the agreement, these measures would terminate after seven years, but ABC will continue to push for a permanent solution.