Ever wonder why it takes forever to get infrastructure built in the United States? Well, as it turns out, every time some big project is proposed – a bridge, new road, pipelines, ports, etc. – the Environmental Protection Agency has an environmental impact review process to survey, consider, survey again, consider again and maybe go to court to stop the project and more than stalls the process.
In a most welcome move for those who know darn well and good that the nation’s infrastructure is in dire need of repair, replacement, and augmentation, the Trump Administration is looking to amend the way permits are granted from the EPA via the National Environmental Protection Act.
“The new regulations will modernize, simplify, and accelerate the environmental review process necessary to build a wide range of projects in the United States, including roads, bridges, and highways,” a White House official said, previewing the announcement. “The rule will also provide needed certainty for project sponsors and will facilitate the rebuilding of America.”
While citizen groups and various local governments looking to work infrastructure are looking forward to knocking off years and dollars from their projects, those who claim to be looking out for the environment in the United States are not happy about this. Their concern as regards to this particular part of the process – stopping all building in its tracks – is supposedly about the disabled and those who would be most impacted by the construction.
The thought that installing new infrastructure might actually help everyone no matter who they are never seems to come up with the opposition.
The reality is that the interstate system and the bridges it utilizes, just to give one example, originate in the 1950s. In the last twenty years, there has been one bridge failure (I-35 in Minneapolis, 2007) and several others have been replaced and repaired due to fatigue issues. This is only going to accelerate, especially with Americans driving more for vacation and business during the Coronavirus lockdown. Simply, more projects are going to be needed in the future and time will be short. We will not have years to fight court battles to get roads and bridges repaired and replaced.
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