NEPA: Now they tell us
The Washington Examiner proclaiming what those of us permitting projects on the ground have known for decades: The environmental review process at state and federal levels is completely broken.
An excerpt from the article (link to article HERE):
When Honolulu approved plans to construct a rail transit line stretching 20 miles into the suburbs in 2008, voters were told the project would cost $4 billion and would be completed by 2022. Now, the cost has ballooned to $11.4 billion, and it won’t be done until 2031.
Two-thousand and five hundred miles away in California’s Central Valley, what was originally sold as a high-speed rail system stretching from Los Angeles to San Francisco that would cost $33 billion and would be completed in 2020 has since become a $100 billion project to be completed in 2033 that will only travel from Bakersfield to Merced.
Almost a month after Congress finally passed President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion physical infrastructure bill, the New York Times tells us that these boondoggles are not just isolated cases but are indicative of “the kind of cost overruns, engineering challenges and political obstacles that have made it all but impossible to complete a major, multibillion-dollar infrastructure project in the United States.”
Weird that the New York Times failed to mention these problems before Biden’s infrastructure became law.
So, what is driving all these infrastructure projects to take so long at so high a price?
According to the New York Times, “projects are put on hold for years” while federal agencies “review environmental reports” required by federal law. It also reported that this environmental review process “has become so complex, in part to defend against inevitable lawsuits, that neither state agencies nor federal departments can write and review the documents without teams of outside consultants.”
The New York Times never mentions it, but the law responsible for all these environmental reviews is called the National Environmental Policy Act, and it indeed is the main reason why infrastructure is so expensive. Unfortunately, Biden’s infrastructure bill does nothing to reform the NEPA. It just pours $1.2 trillion into what is clearly a broken infrastructure construction system.