WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill joined Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio in announcing at a roundtable yesterday that the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, which their 2015 permitting reform law created, has already saved $1 billion in infrastructure project costs since 2015.
“Things don’t happen around here quickly, but good ideas have a way of latching on—and this is a good idea,” said McCaskill at the roundtable. “This is an idea that is going to make a difference in terms of saving taxpayers money, it’s going to make a difference in terms of being able to get infrastructure in place in a way that saves local jurisdictions money, and saves money for the companies that are willing to invest in these infrastructure projects. It’s a win-win all the way around, but I’m disappointed along with my colleague that we don’t have a permanent executive director.”
McCaskill and Portman recently introduced a bipartisan bill to improve federal permitting for some of the largest infrastructure projects and build on their successful 2015 efforts to streamline this process. The bipartisan Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act would build on the successes of McCaskill and Portman’s previous reforms by making their previous permitting reform program permanent, applying the program to more projects, setting a two-year goal for permitting large infrastructure projects, and expanding the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council’s consulting authority.
The Senators’ Federal Permitting Improvement Act—which was signed into law in 2015—was designed to streamline and speed up the federal permitting process for the largest and most complex projects, which were laden with an uncoordinated federal review process. Businesses looking to undertake large infrastructure projects can be subject to a massive bureaucratic process involving up to a dozen agencies and approvals, and even after approval, litigation can stall projects for years.
McCaskill’s work to pass this legislation was cited by Daniel Mehan, President and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry as, “a real breath of fresh air for infrastructure around the country.” It was backed by a number of groups including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Soybean Association, Missouri Realtors, Associated General Contractors of Missouri, North American Equipment Dealers Association, Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield, St. Louis Regional Chamber, and Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.