Sullivan Says Infrastructure Plan Must Include Permitting Reform
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), today joined several of his Republican colleagues in urging President Joe Biden to work with congressional Republicans on an infrastructure package, rather than proceeding on a strictly-partisan basis. Sullivan noted that the positive impacts of any major infrastructure plan will be blunted and delayed without modernizing the federal environmental permitting process, which hasn’t beensubstantively updated in over five decades.
One element here that's missing—and if the president really wants a bipartisan bill, they need to address it—it's permitting reform.
I know that sounds very boring, but it's very bipartisan. If you talk to any mayor, if you talk to any governor—it doesn't matter, Democrat or Republican, they want it. Why do they want it? Because we all know the horror stories. Right? In Alaska, my great state, it took 20 years to permit a mine. That mine is now employing 600 people, $100,000 average wage. The Sea-Tac airport, when they expanded the runway, (it took) 15 years to permit that. 15 years!
It takes on average, 9 to 19 years to permit a highway in America. This is crazy. This is crazy.
This is one of the number one goals of the building trades, the men and women who build things in America. If you don't do permitting reform, you could do a $5 trillion dollar highway bill, and the only people who will get a job are the lawyers, the environmental groups and the bureaucrats, not the men and women who build stuff, which is why the trades want this so much.
And, finally, if you can do reform where you can say, “Hey, this highway project will take three years to permit, not 10,” you will see a huge influx of private capital into our infrastructure system. So we need permitting reform. It's bipartisan. The president has ignored it. We're going to put it in our package.
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