U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), Chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, made the following remarks Tuesday during a Surface Transportation Bill Conference Meeting:
Chairman Duncan Statement
"Over the course of this conference, we will be dealing with a large number of policy issues that affects all aspects of our Nation's surface transportation system.
"One area that I've strongly supported is streamlining the project delivery process. Too much government bureaucracy and red tape can tie up infrastructure projects, delaying transportation improvements and increasing construction costs.
"According to the Federal Highway Administration, the project delivery process can take up to 15 years from planning through construction. This is simply unacceptable.
"Another analysis conducted by the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission found that a $500 million project that took 14 years to complete would see its cost double due to the impact of delays and inflation.
"I hope that this Conference Committee will be able to agree on real reforms to streamline the project delivery process.
"I believe that the Conference Report produced by this Committee must set hard deadlines for Federal agencies to approve and expedite highway and transit projects.
"These reforms must delegate more project approval authority to States and allow State environmental laws to be used in place of Federal laws where it makes sense.
"Also, we must simplify the approval process for projects within a facilities right-of-way.
"If we can agree to these common sense changes, I'm confident we can cut the time it takes to approve a project in half, thereby reducing the costs of transportation projects and delivering the economic and safety benefits of those projects to our Nation in a more timely fashion."