Streamlining the Permitting Process

Permit delays dampen private sector investment in infrastructure projects and add to overall costs. A report by the nonprofit organization Common Good estimates that a six-year delay in starting construction on public projects costs the nation more than $3.7 trillion.

The need to enact permitting reform policies is an area of general agreement among Washington policymakers, but legislative proposals under consideration in the House and Senate are far apart and have become part of intense discussions over federal budget priorities.

Position

Congress should codify approval streamlining procedures supported by both Republican and Democratic administrations. Legislative goals should include a two-year goal to complete all environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects, with interim benchmarks; increased coordination between federal agencies at key points in the permitting process; and increased emphasis on project “pre-scoping” and “preliminary planning.”

Negotiations over permitting reform in Congress and the White House need to produce compromise legislation that will aid the private and public sectors’ efforts to improve the nation’s infrastructure.

 

Background

The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) signed into law in Nov. 2021 may help streamline the cumbersome federal review process to approve infrastructure projects. The law codifies a 2-year federal permitting goal and establishes a “One Federal Decision” document to coordinate the environmental reviews of multiple agencies.

Resources

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Workplace Return
CRE Conversions
Infrastructure Funding (Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act)
Public-Private Partnerships
Streamlining the Permitting Process