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

The heads of 12 federal agencies have signed an agreement to streamline environmental reviews and decisions for major infrastructure projects.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency are among the agencies that signed the April 10 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was prompted by President Donald Trump’s “One Federal Decision” proposal.

The aim is to reduce delays caused by multiple agencies with conflicting schedules involved in the permitting process. The MOU also sets a goal of completing the environmental review process within a two-year average. This is an aggressive goal, considering environmental impact statements, in some cases, have taken as long as decade or more.

In an August 2017 executive order, the Trump administration proposed consolidating all permitting decisions for major projects under one federal “lead” agency. ARTBA has consistently supported the administration’s efforts to reduce delays for critical transportation improvements and will continue to work with federal agencies to implement the MOU.