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

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that state DOTs are using more than half of the over 30 streamlining provisions provided by the past three surface transportation reauthorization laws in their federally-funded highway and transit projects.

“State DOTs and selected transit agencies reported using provisions enacted in law to speed up the delivery of highway and transit projects, and while state DOTs reported that a number of provisions they used sped up delivery of highway projects, the effects on transit projects were less clear,” the Jan. 30 report said.

The report also examined the six states—Alaska, California, Florida, Ohio, Texas, and Utah—that have chosen to participate in the delegation of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. It recommended the Federal Highway Administration offer guidance and technical assistance to those states in order to better assess the program’s impact.

Streamlining provisions were included in the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU); the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21); and the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).

ARTBA has long worked to cut red tape and reduce delays in the transportation project review and approval process. Lately, that effort has been joined by the Trump administration, which has said it wants to reduce such reviews to two years or less.

The GAO report was delivered to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.