US Secretary of Transportation Announces Improvements to Infrastructure Challenges

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The fight to get real transit solutions isn't always grim. Sometimes the friends of public transit systems make real strides.

Consider this announcement from the US Secretary of Transportation.

"President Obama today [May 17, 2013] signed a Presidential memorandum that will shave months, even years, off the time it takes to review major infrastructure projects. This means that states, local governments, and private developers will be able to to start construction sooner, create jobs earlier and fix our nation's infrastructure faster.

On March 22, 2012 the President issued an Executive Order launching a government-wide initiative to improve the efficiency of federal review and permitting of infrastructure projects. 

Since then, the agencies have expedited the review and permitting of 50 major projects, including bridges, transit, railways, waterways, roads, and renewable energy projects.

Federal agencies have also identified a set of best practices for efficient review and permitting. Those range from expanding information technology (IT) tools to strategies--like simultaneous review--for improving collaboration. Today's Presidential Memorandum directs all relevant agencies to put these best practices into effect."

While these measures won't fix every transit problem we have, cutting the red tape is certainly helpful. As the post mentions, several transit efforts are already feeling truly positive effects as a result of these updates.

According to the permits dashboard, there are currently quite a few nationwide transit programs that are reaping the benefits of these changes, including:

  • The creation of the Baltimore Red Line
  • The extension of the Los Angeles Green Line
  • Improved rail service in the northeast
  • The completion of 4 missing miles of bike and pedestrian paths in Maryland and DC
  • A Fresno-to-Bakersfield high-speed train in California
  • Repair of the Devil's Lake rail line in North Dakota
  • The creation of a new light rail service in Minneapolis

Some of these projects already have permits. Other permits are in progress.
We're certainly looking forward to seeing what CTAI can accomplish with the expedited review process.