WASHINGTON, DC — Nick Ivanoff, president of Ammann & Whitney, a Berger Group company, was part of a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law last month. Ivanoff participated in the hearing in his role as the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)’s first vice chairman.
“Our industry generates more than $380 billion annually in U.S. economic activity and sustains more than 3.3 million American jobs,” said Ivanoff in his opening statement. “ARTBA members must directly navigate the regulatory process to deliver transportation improvements. As such, they have firsthand knowledge about specific federal burdens that can and should be alleviated.”
The panel examined the recently introduced “Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development” (RAPID) Act. The RAPID Act attempts to apply project delivery reforms from the past three surface transportation program reauthorization bills to other federal construction projects.
During his testimony, Ivanoff highlighted the advantages of the RAPID Act.
- Greater strength for “lead agencies”: By granting increased authority to “lead agencies,” DOT is permitted to be the focal point of the review process as opposed to a peer on equal footing with non-transportation agencies.
- Deadlines on agency decisions and limitations on filing of lawsuits: The Act would limit the time during which lawsuits may be filed against projects. It also includes a two-year deadline for EISs and a one-year deadline for environmental assessments (EAs).
- Simplification of the EIS process and reduction of duplicative work: The RAPID Act would allow for state-level environmental review documents to be used during the federal approval process and materials in the transportation planning process to be used during NEPA reviews.
During his testimony, Ivanoff encouraged the committee to consider several new provisions not currently included in the RAPID Act, including several currently included in MAP-21:
- Streamlined EIS: MAP-21 simplifies the EIS process, by allowing a lead agency to list corrections between a draft and final EIS and to combine final EISs and records of decision into a single document.
- Delegation of environmental review responsibilities: Delegation of environmental review responsibilities to states could be an important tool to save resources and speed project delivery without sacrificing regulatory safeguards.
- Expansion of the use of Categorical Exclusions (CEs): MAP-21 expands the use of CEs during the environmental review process by allowing certain types of projects to be classified as CEs to reduce delay in the review and approval process.
Read Ivanoff’s full testimony here.