Today, the president issued an executive order to streamline the federal permitting approval process as a part of his infrastructure initiative. Specifically, the executive order will simplify the permitting process to provide for one federal decision that should be made within two years. The executive order establishing discipline and accountability in the environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure projects can be found here. Manufacturers welcome today’s news and have long called for federal leadership in reducing excessive red tape in the environmental permitting process for infrastructure projects. Accountability and transparency for all permitting decisions are critical to achieving a set of best practices and certainty that will encourage additional private-sector investment and efficiency. Infrastructure should build in a period of a few years, not a decade.
The United States lags behind other advanced economies like Australia and Canada in setting reasonable policies and procedures that promote the expediency of project reviews while ensuring environmental protections. In terms of actual infrastructure systems, the United States does not even rank in the top 10 countries in the world. Shortening the average time for the approval on transportation and infrastructure projects will go a long way in reducing the uncertainty that discourages the private sector from engaging on critical public-sector infrastructure projects.
Today’s executive order is one crucial step to addressing our infrastructure gap, and manufacturers will continue to press Congress and the administration to move a major new infrastructure investment. The legislative calendar is crowded this fall with many priorities, but we know when Congress focuses on a challenge, solutions can be achieved.
In “Building to Win,” the NAM called for federal actions to streamline regulations so projects can get done more quickly, mandate accountability and improve efficiencies and processes to reduce the costs of delayed infrastructure. Manufacturers are pleased with today’s development and look forward to advancing important infrastructure solutions with Republicans and Democrats so that we can achieve an infrastructure proposal that invests $1 trillion in our roads, bridges, drinking and wastewater, airports, energy infrastructure, transit systems, inland waterways, ports, broadband systems and railroads. Whether it’s congestion on the highways or at ports or an electricity or internet lapse that pauses our assembly lines, poor infrastructure systems disadvantage American manufacturers. The president’s executive order addresses the hidden costs of delay, but let’s keep the momentum going and go further so that American infrastructure gets its needed upgrade.
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