The complexity of in the process by which federal permits are issued is of great concern to NABTU and its affiliates. By some estimates, a six-year delay in starting construction on public works, including the effects of unnecessary pollution and prolonged inefficiencies, costs the nation over $3.7 trillion[i]. This is unacceptable, and frankly, unsustainable.
In order to break ground on infrastructure projects, we first need to acquire the necessary permits. Unfortunately, businesses seeking to undertake major capital projects often must run the gauntlet of numerous separate agency reviews and approvals. That process is plagues by a lack of coordination, few deadlines, insufficient transparence, and litigation exposure as long as 6 years after securing required approvals.
This is why North America’s Building Trades Unions are pleased that the recently enacted five-year surface transportation reauthorization, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, included language that is based upon the NABTU endorsed Federal Permitting Improvement Act. Inclusion into the surface transportation bill of this commonsense bipartisan provision will provide greater certainty; streamline the process for approval of major capital infrastructure projects, and will keep our members at work and ensure further expansion of much-needed employment opportunities in the construction industry.