Alabama Rep. Bachus introduces bill to expedite approval of large construction projects

|  July 15, 2013 |

U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Citing “protracted” construction permitting procedures in need of streamlining, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., recently detailed the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act, which he co-sponsors.

The bill would seek to eliminate duplicate state and federal reviews on construction projects along with establishing deadlines and a statute of limitations for environmental impact studies. The RAPID Act also calls for the designation of a lead agency early in the project approval process, according to a report from Al.com.

Bachus, the chair of the House Judiciary’s subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and anti-trust law, said by expediting approvals the bill should generate more construction jobs.

“One thing we can all agree on is that we need more jobs and construction jobs are some of the best paying jobs out there. Unfortunately, a big roadblock to creating more of these jobs is the inexcusably slow review process imposed by Washington on the permitting of new construction projects,” Bachus said.

“It sometimes seems incredibly difficult to get permission in a timely manner for even a small project. When it comes to large projects—such as the construction of the Northern Beltline in the Birmingham area—the challenges can be even greater.”

Bachus’ remarks came as part of his support for the Northern Beltline, a proposed $5 billion project that would create a 52-mile highway between the Alabama town’s of Bessemer and Pinson. The project would take about 30 years to complete.

The federal approval process for construction projects was established under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. Earlier this year as part of his initiative to improve U.S. infrastructure and create more construction jobs, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum with the goal of decreasing the review and approval times for major infrastructure projects.

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