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Do Labor and Business Agree on Federal Permitting Improvement Proposal?

Posted by Larry Ehl on Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Do Labor and Business Agree on Federal Permitting Improvement Proposal?Transportation Issues Daily

Labor and business groups are enthusiastically supporting a proposal to streamline the permitting process for large infrastructure projects.  See our story, Bipartisan Proposal Offers Three Reforms to Streamline Project Delivery” for details about the legislative proposal.

Proponents note that the U.S. “ranks 17th in the world for the time it takes to get a government green-light to actually build something — one of the ten International Monetary Fund (IMF) metrics for the “ease of doing business. . . .Several recent reports have highlighted the need for modernization of the permitting process, including the 2011 Year-End Report of the President’s Jobs Council, the Business Roundtable’s Permitting Jobs and Business Investment, and the Chamber of Commerce’s Project/No Project report.

Here is what labor thinks of the proposal:
“This commonsense bipartisan legislation will provide greater certainty and streamline the process that businesses must engage in when seeking approval for major capital infrastructure projects,” said Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trade Unions, AFL-CIO.  “Given the continued unacceptably high levels of unemployment in the construction industry, nearly double the national rate, the enactment of sensible reforms like those contained in this critical legislation will keep our members at work and ensure expansion of employment opportunities.”

The Business Roundtable’s take:

“Business Roundtable, which represents major U.S. companies from every sector of the economy, supports this bill because it would implement most of the major permitting reforms the Roundtable proposed in an April 2012 report. We appreciate the leadership of the senators on this issue and urge the Senate to pass the legislation without delay,” said Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company and Chair of BRT’s Select Committee on Smart Regulation.”

The U.S. Chamber’s position:

“The Federal Permitting Improvement Act of 2013 would provide a streamlined process for developers to obtain environmental permits and approvals for their projects in a timely and efficient manner,” said the U.S. Chamber’s Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten.  “This legislation would address the problem that far too many shovel-ready projects face today: lengthy project delays from endless environmental reviews and challenges result in lost opportunities to create jobs and grow the economy.  The Chamber strongly supports this bill to improve the environmental review and permitting process and get more projects moving.”

Source: news release about proposal.

Larry Ehl is the founder and publisher of Transportation Issues Daily. In the public sector, Larry was Federal Relations Manager for Washington State DOT; Chief of Staff to US Senator Slade Gorton; and was twice elected to the Edmonds School Board.

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