By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory & legal issues, ARTBA

The White House is considering significant reforms to the environmental review and approval process for transportation infrastructure projects, according to President Donald Trump’s Jan. 30 State of the Union remarks and a draft proposal that began circulating last week.

The six-page draft covers a number of targets for regulatory reform, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Endangered Species Act (ESA) and how courts consider challenges to infrastructure projects. The draft also contains ideas that would impact other infrastructure sectors, such as energy and wireless communications.

The draft seems to follow up Trump’s Aug. 15 executive order, “Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects.” It established the “One Federal Decision” concept to keep multiple agencies from having conflicting review schedules and calls on federal agencies to reduce their review period to “an average of not more than two years.”

In his State of the Union speech, Trump suggested permit reviews could be reduced to “perhaps even one” year.

The draft document does not contain specific legislative language. Rather, it is a compilation of streamlining ideas to fast track infrastructure development and boost the U.S. economy. ARTBA will continue to work with the Trump administration and Congress to achieve these goals to the benefit of our members.