On Aug. 15, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at streamlining the environmental review, permitting and approval process of infrastructure projects.
The executive order, Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure
, will make the environmental and permitting processes needed for major infrastructure projects more efficient and effective,
and establishes a two-year goal to process environmental documents for major infrastructure projects, according to a White House fact sheet
“President Trump’s executive order can go a long way towards eliminating unnecessary delays that cause budget overruns,” said ABC 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.”
According to the White House fact sheet, a 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, it takes seven years, on average, for a complex highway project to go through the entire environmental review process. And according to the National Association of Environmental Professionals, a single agency can take 3.7 to five years, on average, to complete an environmental review.
The order also revokes Executive Order 13690, signed on Jan. 30, 2015, Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input
, which industry groups complained makes the government process of determining how to factor climate-change impacts into projects more complicated.
The order is part of President Trump’s effort to deliver on his campaign promise to modernize and rebuild America’s infrastructure.
The President’s 2018 budget proposal—which traditionally functions as a symbolic political wish list highlighting administration priorities—lays out $200 billion over 10 years in direct federal infrastructure spending.
According to a White House fact sheet
included in the 2018 budget proposal, the “President’s target of $1 trillion in infrastructure investment will be funded through a combination of new federal funding, incentivized non-federal funding and newly prioritized and expedited projects.”
The White House is expected to rely heavily on public-private partnerships (P3s) to attract private capital to build new transformative projects, improve underutilized assets and create value by addressing project lifecycle
costs, mitigating risks and delivering construction projects faster to market.
Congress is expected to produce legislation on infrastructure in late 2017 or early 2018, but President Trump has already signed a number of infrastructure and workforce development executive orders of interest to the construction community that will set the table for the forthcoming infrastructure legislation.
ABC CEO Mike Bellaman appeared on Fox Business Aug. 16 discussing the forthcoming infrastructure plan
, and ABC is working with Congress and administration officials to help shape the plan.