Finding ways to fast-track infrastructure projects

Why is it so difficult to build major infrastructure projects in the United States? Some argue it's due to a perennial lack of funding. For others, it stems from the strict environmental permitting process. Still others maintain that it's a combination of the two.

Philip Howard, chairman of the nonpartisan reform coalition Common Good, would likely fall into the latter camp. He comes down pretty hard on the country's lengthy review processes for big projects.

"Funding is critical, obviously. But funding doesn't speed things up; it just pays for it once you have a permit," Howard told me over the phone last month.

Howard has authored reports about ways to accelerate the permitting process for key infrastructure projects in the United States. For my recent article, I chatted with him at length about his ideas. Check out my story and let me know what you think about Howard's opinions. Could his ideas help fast-track projects in the country? Are there elements he's not taking into consideration? 

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