MAP-21, a measure to reauthorize transportation funding through the end of 2014, is the product of a robust effort by transportation advocates to streamline the lengthy, complex, and cumbersome federal environmental process. Nossaman played an important role in this debate. As was widely reported during the Congressional debate, it requires an average of 15 years to obtain approvals to build a major new transportation project. It is not uncommon for large projects to languish in NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) purgatory for decades. The House and Senate versions of MAP-21 sought to reduce materially the time required to deliver major transportation improvements, but without sacrificing the environment.
MAP-21 reflects considerable horse trading by conferees on environmental streamlining. Whether the ultimate product will achieve the stated legislative objective will depend on the terms of regulations to implement MAP-21 and continued vigilance by the transportation community.
Robert Thornton specializes in advising state and regional infrastructure authorities on environmental issues regarding large infrastructure projects. He has successfully defended more than $12 billion in regional ...
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