U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Greg Stanton (D-AZ), along with Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) introduced the Interactive Federal Review Act. The legislation would direct the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to select a minimum of ten federal highway projects to demonstrate the use of interactive, digital, cloud-based platforms in carrying out the environmental analysis and community engagement processes required in FHWA projects.
"Environmental reviews are stuck in the 90s and continue to delay critical infrastructure projects for years at a time," said Johnson. "The Interactive Federal Review Act brings NEPA reviews into the 21st century by prioritizing updated technologies and processes between agencies. This commonsense legislation ensures infrastructure projects stay on-time and on-task while also protecting the environment."
"People in Wyoming should not have to wait for the better part of a decade for improvements to the roads they rely on every day," said Senator Lummis. "We use streamlined technology for nearly every part of our lives, so it only makes sense that the environmental review process saves some paper and occurs online as well. I am grateful to Senator Kelly and Representative Johnson for their collaboration and leadership on this legislation."
"This bipartisan bill will make sure transportation projects funded by our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are built on time by bringing the environmental review process into the 21st century. Arizona is already a leader on this innovative approach and our common sense legislation would ensure that projects like widening I-10 and building I-11 move forward without costly and unnecessary delays," said Senator Kelly.
"I'm focused on leveraging historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds for critical projects in Arizona--like expanding the I-10, a key economic corridor in our state, and building I-11. But the current environmental review process is slow and cumbersome, delaying completion and wasting taxpayer dollars," said Rep. Stanton. "Our bipartisan Interactive Federal Review Act will modernize and streamline the process while ensuring we stay true to the intent of NEPA."
The Interactive Federal Review Act would address one of the root causes of the delays of environmental reviews for infrastructure projects by moving the development of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents from trading static PDFs over email to interactive, cloud-based platforms. These digital tools are estimated to shorten the cumulative amount of time spent reviewing documents on traditional schedules for large projects by 50% through real-time, concurrent reviews by agencies and more transparency of the NEPA process for impacted communities and individuals.