AGC calls on FHWA to make funds available to state DOTs to hire additional staff and better educate them on recent permitting reforms.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) with $100 million to facilitate efficient and effective reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). On June 1, AGC outlined how that money could best be spent to ensure that states can break ground on road and bridge projects and ensure the success of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). These projects that require more thorough environmental reviews are the larger projects that provide tangible benefits to the lives of Americans.
Unfortunately, these are also the projects that get tied up in years of paperwork and delays, often due to staffing constraints. That is why AGC called on FHWA to make these funds available to state DOTs to hire additional staff. By providing funds to assist with staff capacity constraints at state DOTs we believe that more projects will be let on time.
In addition, AGC called on FHWA to better educate state DOT and FHWA Division staff on recent permitting reforms to ensure that project sponsors are taking advantage of these new efficiencies. Likewise, they should develop resources to encourage more states to take on NEPA assignment responsibilities. Taking on these responsibilities at the state level has provided significant benefits in time and cost savings for states like Texas.
If we reach the final year of the IIJA and there are not completed projects in every community, then the IIJA could end up being a once in a lifetime law rather than the new norm. AGC continues to urge FHWA to not use the funding to put new hurdles in place for states and construction companies to get projects done in a safe, efficient and timely manner.
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