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Lawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to speed up infrastructure permitting

Lawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to speed up infrastructure permitting
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A pair of lawmakers has introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at accelerating the permitting process for infrastructure projects.

Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEverybody wants Joe Manchin Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big MORE (D-Ind.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds Senate confirms Biden's pick to lead White House environmental council Biden outreach on infrastructure met with Republican skepticism MORE (R-Ohio) on Wednesday unveiled a bill that would allow railroads and public utilities the permanent ability to fund permitting reviews for some projects in an effort to fast-track the process.

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“By making these cost-sharing provisions permanent, we will encourage more project sponsors and the Army Corps of Engineers to use this option and make the permitting process run more efficiently,” Portman said in a statement.

While these companies can legally contribute funds to help speed up the permitting process with the Army Corps of Engineers, their authorization to do so ends in 2024.

“This legislation continues an available option for speeding up infrastructure permitting and provides the certainty that both private companies and the Army Corps of Engineers need to quickly review projects,” Donnelly said of the bill he introduced with Portman. “I’m proud to work with Sen. Portman to keep red tape delays out of the way of these needed infrastructure projects.”

The bill comes as President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE’s infrastructure proposal appears to have hit a wall in Congress, as lawmakers and the administration have yet to provide a revenue stream for the rebuilding blueprint.

The president has emphasized the need to streamline the permitting process in any infrastructure plan and the administration’s framework seeks to reduce the process down to two years.