ARTBA President & CEO Dave Bauer has endorsed President Donald Trump’s July 15 announcement about modernizing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), but added that Congress must pass a multi-year surface transportation investment bill to maximize the benefits.

Bauer’s full statement:

“The National Environmental Policy Act’s antiquated, three-decade old review procedures have unnecessarily stymied critically needed infrastructure improvements. 

 

“We heartily endorse President Trump’s steadfast commitment to speed up the delivery of transportation projects, while keeping environmental safeguards in place.

 

“The full effects of building major projects requiring the NEPA reforms outlined by the Trump administration won’t be realized with more temporary federal highway and transit program funding extensions.   

 

“Maximizing the benefits of the president’s NEPA reforms is another in a long line of reasons for Congress to complete action on a robust, multi-year surface transportation investment bill before the current law expires Sept. 30.”

Bauer was among a select group of business leaders present at a Jan. 9 White House event as President Trump first announced the NEPA modernization. In addition to submitting comments supporting the rule, ARTBA also testified at public hearings in Denver and Washington, D.C.

The new rule modernizes NEPA in a number of ways. It:

  • establishes a two-year limit for environmental impact statements and a one-year limit for environmental assessments;
  • places page limits on both types of documents;
  • requires a single final document for all environmental reviews — mirroring President Trump’s “One Federal Decision” executive order; and
  • provides greater strength for “lead agencies” on projects.

A complete list of the changes can be found at this White House fact sheet. Read the published final rule.

The rule takes effect Sept. 14, but ARTBA expects challenges in both the federal courts and Congress.