U.S. Representative. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today introduced the One Federal Decision Act (OFDA) to make the federal permitting and environmental review processes more efficient for major infrastructure projects by enacting sensible reforms. The goal of the OFDA is to reduce project delays and save taxpayer dollars without reducing the effectiveness of the environmental review process.
“America’s infrastructure needs are immediate and substantial. My legislation will ensure that we treat major infrastructure projects like the top priority they are, not a can that we kick down the road for years on end,” said Rep. Davis. “Illinois drivers don’t want the roads and bridges in Illinois fixed 5 or 10 years from now, they want them fixed today. With the One Federal Decision Act, we can move projects along quicker, save taxpayer dollars, create good paying jobs, and protect the environment all at the same time. We should all want a more streamlined, efficient government.”
What the One Federal Decision Act does to expedite major infrastructure projects:
- Sets a government-wide goal of limiting the time required for environmental reviews and authorizations for major infrastructure projects to two years, beginning with publication of a notice of intent to prepare an EIS through the issuance of a record of decision (ROD) under NEPA.
- Requires federal agencies to develop a single permitting timetable for environmental review and authorization decisions.
- Requires all federal authorizations and project reviews to rely on a single environmental document.
- Requires agencies to make all decisions on authorizations – including permits – for a major project within 90 days of the issuance of a ROD.
- Establishes a process for Federal agencies to adopt applicable categorical exclusions to the NEPA process established by the Federal Highway Administration in order to accelerate project delivery.
You can find the legislative text of OFDA here.
Currently, a complex highway project takes an average of seven years just to clear the federal government’s cumbersome review process needed for a project to advance. Approvals for some large projects can involve many duplicative and overlapping documents and can require input from multiple federal and state agencies. When one federal agency can take an average of 3.7 to 5 years to complete an environmental review, it’s no wonder that some approvals for critical projects have dragged on for decades. These project delays cost $3.7 trillion in foregone economic gains in employment, efficiency, and more.
Stakeholders supporting OFDA, including Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), American Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and many others recently wrote to members of Congress urging the passage of the bill and its inclusion in upcoming infrastructure legislation. You can find that letter here.
Rep. Davis serves as the lead Republican on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He recently met with President Biden at the White House to discuss the need for a bipartisan legislation that invests in infrastructure.