The Office of Management and Budget is adding a new level of scrutiny to how agencies approve construction and environmental permits, part of a new Obama administration effort to cut red tape for getting infrastructure projects going.
“Of course when you streamline that process, you’re going to have a little more efficiency getting those projects off the ground, awarded and, of course, constructed,” said Marco Giamberardino, senior director of the Federal and Heavy Construction Division at the Associated General Contractors of America, in an interview with The Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
But the efforts to streamline apply to a wide range of projects. Because of the various processes construction projects must go through, some projects can take as little as three years to as many as 20 years, Giamberardino said. He added that local and state regulations come into play as well.
“In fact, constructing a major roadway can take sometimes as long as 200 major steps throughout the entire project’s life, and that includes approvals both at the federal, state, local levels, other stakeholders such as … If you have to go through a neighborhood or get through a wetland,” he said.
Other federal agencies may also be involved, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Services, Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineer and Coast Guard, Giamberardino added.
The administration has launched a pilot program with 14 projects for streamlined permitting. All 14 projects are “on track” and will provide lessons learned for other federal construction projects, the President said in an update this month.
Giamberardino said AGCA is still waiting to hear about more details of the administration’s streamlining proposals. He said whatever the details are, the agencies directly involved in procuring and managing projects are “the best on-the-ground folks to work with.”
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-8 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.