BPC Action Applauds the Reintroduction of the Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act in Infrastructure

BPC Action applauds Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) for their leadership in reintroducing the Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act. This bipartisan legislation would permanently authorize Title 41 of the FAST Act, known as FAST-41, which brought important improvements to the federal permitting and environmental review process while upholding key environmental protections.  

FAST-41 improved the federal review and permitting process by creating a publicly available Permitting Dashboard that tracks major infrastructure projects as they move through multiagency reviews and secure needed federal approvals. FAST-41 also established the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, with representatives from across the federal government, to add visibility and predictability to the permitting process, enhance interagency coordination, hold agencies to  permitting timetables, and help resolve disputes. Project sponsors that have elected to use the voluntary FAST-41 process have seen significant time savings in acquiring needed federal approvals. 

Despite bipartisan support, FAST-41 provisions are set to expire in 2022. The sunset clause has created great uncertainty about the process for project sponsors moving forward, disincentivizing project sponsors to utilize this voluntary, coordinated process. The Federal Permitting Reform and Jobs Act would permanently authorize FAST-41 in statute to ensure the gains in transparency, predictability, and efficiency are not reversed. The legislation would also make further improvements—applying FAST-41 to a greater number of projects, enhancing protections for projects on tribal lands, and setting a two-year goal for permitting projects covered under FAST-41. 

As Congress and the Biden administration attempt to make once-in-a-generation investments in our nation’s infrastructure, we cannot allow FAST-41 provisions to expire. In the race to grow the economy, create jobs, and confront climate change, our most limited resource is time. FAST-41 is an important tool to advance needed projects in a timely and responsible way. BPC Action looks forward to working with Congress to see this important legislation included in the final bipartisan infrastructure package.