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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Obama administration to speed up infrastructure project decisions

President Obama's administration yesterday announced a series of actions to accelerate federal decisions for infrastructure projects nationwide.

The White House Office of Management and Budget, Council on Environmental Quality, and U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) revealed the actions, which include an enhanced Federal Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard, new guidance to federal agencies establishing metrics for the permitting and environmental review of infrastructure projects, and an update of the handbook used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for environmental review of transportation projects.

Yesterday's announced steps build on earlier actions by President Obama to streamline the permitting reform government-wide, as well as other efforts to modernize infrastructure permitting. As part of the earlier efforts, federal agencies expedited the review and permitting of more than 50 major infrastructure projects, including bridges, transit, railways, waterways, roads, and renewable energy projects, USDOT officials said in a press release.

"To deliver infrastructure projects that achieve real impacts for the American people, we need to act with urgency and recognize that every day counts," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx."“Today's actions help us get there. We are pushing ourselves to improve efficiency, coordination, and collaboration, so that federal permitting becomes a sprint rather than a relay race."

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