Today we are launching the Federal Infrastructure Projects Dashboard, a new web page where you can track the federal permitting and environmental review process for expedited high priority infrastructure projects. These projects were identified pursuant to a Presidential Memorandum, in which the President directed agencies to expedite environmental reviews and permit decisions for a selection of high priority infrastructure projects that will create a significant number of jobs, have already identified necessary funding, and where the significant steps remaining before construction are within the control and jurisdiction of the federal government and can be completed within 18 months.
This Dashboard is the latest result of a series of executive actions President Obama has taken to create jobs because he is adamant that we can’t wait for Congress to act to boost job growth and strengthen our economy. That is why he directed Federal agencies to fast-track review of high priority infrastructure projects that together have the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs.
As the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness has highlighted, it is critical for the Federal government to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal permitting and environmental reviews to ensure that smart infrastructure projects move as quickly as possible from the drawing board to completion. At the direction of President Obama, agencies are taking steps to expedite the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects that will create jobs, spur economic growth in adjacent communities, and improve the safety and quality of life of Americans.
While many permitting and environmental review processes are not under the control of the federal government, the Obama Administration is committed to reforming those processes where we have the authority to do so, to ensure that they run as efficiently as possible while continuing to protect public health, safety and the environment, and to preserve opportunities for public participation in federal decision-making. That means implementing reforms like creating real time tracking systems, eliminating unnecessary steps that waste time, and being aggressive about making the most efficient choices every step of the way.
As part of the Administration’s commitment to efficiency and transparency, and thanks to the hard work of the CIO, CTO, and the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, this Dashboard initially includes the expedited infrastructure projects. It will be expanded to include additional projects, enabling the public to access information on the status of Federal permits and reviews for a variety of major infrastructure projects across our nation. The public will be able to learn exactly where a project is in the review process, and who to contact if it is delayed. In addition, the dashboard will highlight best practices and coordination efforts that have been successful in making Federal permitting and review decisions more efficient so that the Administration can apply these lessons broadly to further improve the permitting process for all projects.
We look forward to your feedback on this pilot dashboard, and to continuing to update the dashboard to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and transparency of Federal permitting and review processes in order to expedite infrastructure development and job creation.
Jeff Zients is the Deputy Director for Management and Chief Performance Officer