Obama administration fast-tracks infrastructure projects

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The Obama administration on Tuesday, Oct. 11, announced the selection of 14 infrastructure projects across the country that will be expedited through permitting and environmental review processes, a next step in the administration’s efforts to improve the efficiency of federal reviews needed to help job-creating infrastructure projects move as quickly as possible from the drawing board to completion.

Three highway projects are under the U.S. Department of Transportation:
• Tappan Zee Bridge, New York: The project will replace a deficient bridge that is a critical link in the regional transportation network. While the project is an ambitious one and construction will not begin for several years, improved coordination amongst multiple federal agencies will reduce the time needed to proceed from a Draft Environmental Impact Statement to a Record of Decision, potentially reducing the project timeline by multiple years;
• Whittier Bridge, Massachusetts: The project on I-95 in Massachusetts will replace an existing bridge over the Merrimack River with a new multimodal bridge that will add lanes as well as bicycle and pedestrian lanes. The lead agency, resource agency and project sponsor will facilitate better coordination to accelerate permit review and approval within six months, including an agreed upon schedule for document reviews and establishing a process for dispute elevation and resolution; and
• Provo Westside Connector, Utah: The Provo Westside Connector highway project in Utah will build a new arterial roadway between Provo Airport and I-15 to improve roadway system linkage in southwest Provo. By increasing coordination among federal and state agencies, permit review and approval can be expedited, saving six or more months. This time savings will be achieved through an agreed upon schedule for document reviews and establishing a process for dispute elevation and resolution.