Infrastructure Week 2018: Permitting and Environmental Review Process Reforms— What’s Left to Be Done?

The Council of State Governments Blog |

By Sean Slone | 06-04-2018,

I have an article in this week’s issue of CSG’s The Current State wrapping up the various perspectives on
the prospects for infrastructure investment in 2018 that were proffered during Infrastructure Week last
month in Washington. But another topic that received some attention from various I-Week speakers
and participants involved something else emphasized in President Trump’s infrastructure plan issued in
February: streamlining the process by which infrastructure projects receive the go-ahead to move
forward, which can often produce years-long project delays.

During the Infrastructure Week kickoff event May 14 at Union Station, U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Elaine Chao pointed to Australia, which she said has “an affirmative process,” something she thinks the
U.S. would be wise to try to emulate.

“Within two years, a project moves forward unless someone—a stakeholder, whoever—brings up an
objection so it’s a ‘yes’ until there’s a ‘no’” she said. “We string out the permitting process. Every single
intervention creates a delay and additional cost. It is not conducive to rebuilding and refurbishing our

At the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) annual meeting May 16 on Capitol
Hill, California Republican Congressman Jeff Denham said what is needed is a streamlined, one-stopshop
process that requires just one decision from one federal agency.

Read the full article here: