Rollback of NEPA Reforms Threatens Transportation Project Delays; Clashes with Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, ARTBA Says 

The Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) April 19 decision to impose new environmental regulations jeopardizes the efficiency of the transportation project delivery process and the promised outcomes of the 2021 federal infrastructure law, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

Completion of the federal environmental review process under the NEPA can take as long as seven years for new transportation projects, while the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) sets a goal for completing that review within two years. The reforms made to NEPA in 2020 that CEQ is unravelling were designed to reduce unnecessary delay while maintaining NEPA’s environmental safeguards.

“CEQ and all other federal agencies should be focused on maximizing the IIJA’s benefits by streamlining the approval process for essential transportation projects that serve the American people,” ARTBA President & CEO David Bauer said. “Reinstating outdated regulations that require project sponsors to guess about the indirect impacts of transportation improvements only guarantees that those projects will take too long to deliver.”

In comments submitted last November, ARTBA warned that CEQ’s proposal would “preserve the frustrations of NEPA implementation which have featured excessive litigation over projects and procedural minutiae with little or no meaningful relationship to the identification, analysis, and disclosure of the environmental effects of federal actions.”

ARTBA is also currently involved in defending the Trump administration NEPA reforms in federal court.

Established in 1902, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation design and construction industry in the Nation’s Capital.

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