Underperformance is evident across many sectors of infrastructure. The traditional civil works funding approach is not sustainable to meet the nation’s infrastructure needs. The innovative approaches and changes proposed in the Infrastructure Initiative will potentially provide USACE with opportunities to apply new financing approaches and streamline business processes to meet the current and future water resources infrastructure needs of the nation.
The Infrastructure Initiative also provides USACE with the opportunity to further modernize the organization and use its engineering expertise to better meet the nation’s water resources infrastructure needs.
The infrastructure legislative principles released today as part of the Infrastructure Initiative support the administration’s goal to seek and secure long-term reforms on how infrastructure projects are regulated, funded, delivered and maintained. The principles are not legislation but are intended to form the basis for a comprehensive infrastructure bill. The administration hopes to incentivize and expedite the delivery of the nation’s infrastructure by streamlining project delivery and removing barriers.
The administration’s proposal envisions additional programs to advance the development of water resources infrastructure through loans and grants.
The administration is also addressing infrastructure delivery through a range of policy and regulatory changes in addition to the legislative principles.
USACE is developing a work plan that identifies these types of improvements that do not require legislation but could be accomplished through policy or administrative changes.
The primary focus of USACE as related to the Infrastructure Initiative is on five areas that would directly involve Civil Works missions:
Water Resources – remove barriers and create innovative delivery models; Inland Waterways – promote opportunities for non-federal investments; Incentives – incentivize non-federal investments through grants; Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) – incentivize non-federal investments through low-cost federal loans; Permitting – streamline permitting processes.
USACE is committed to working with federal, state and local agencies to implement efficiencies in existing permitting and environmental review processes. Permitting efficiencies are intended to enhance the delivery of timely decisions while maintaining environmental protections provided by law. The intent of the administration’s One Agency, One Decision proposal is to reduce the environmental review and permitting process to no more than a two year timeframe to accelerate infrastructure delivery.
USACE also recognizes the importance of stakeholder engagement and support in the effort to implement change and improve the nation’s water resources infrastructure. USACE plans to gain stakeholder feedback on advancing infrastructure initiatives and to get ideas on how to remove impediments that prevent successful implementation of projects.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been and continues to be part of the federal team assisting the administration in the efforts to develop and implement the Infrastructure Initiative. For more information about the USACE role in the Infrastructure Initiative, please visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/infrastructure/.
SOURCE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers