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 DonnellyEPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party Senate approves funding bill, preventing partial government shutdown MORE (D-Ind.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight Senators restart shutdown talks — and quickly hit roadblocks 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 John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ 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.