The White House has unveiled a new government web site section designed to help accelerate the environmental review and permitting process for 14 high priority infrastructure projects.
The new Federal Infrastructure Projects Dashboard is also intended to bring greater public attention to the projects, and the promise of jobs associated with them, said Jeff Zients, deputy director for management and chief performance officer at the White House Office of Management and Budget in a blog post yesterday.
The initial set of projects, though limited in number, were picked because they already have funding and are among those “where the significant steps remaining before construction are within the control and jurisdiction of the federal government and can be completed within 18 months,” said Zients.
Together, the projects “have the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs,” he said, reinforcing President Obama’s current message that “we can’t wait for Congress to act to boost job growth and strengthen our economy.”
“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, ” he said.
The 14 projects include six transportation, and a variety of reneweable energy, resource conservation and community development initiatives:
The dashboard, which is part of the government’s Performance.gov web site, “will be expanded to include additional projects,” Zients said.
U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra singled out the importance of one of the projects–the NextGen (airspace) Infrastructure Initiative–as an example of the benefits attached to some of the site projects, as well as the dashboard itself.
“Scaling up the results from the Houston pilot project around the country will allow us to more rapidly attain NextGen’s enormous potential value for our nation and economy,” he said on a White House web site earlier today. “By embracing the power of open government, you can hold our feet to the fire in accelerating this important infrastructure project.”
“The project is poised to enter its detailed design phase, and thanks to the dashboard you can now follow its progress with information from the project leader who is accountable for getting it done,” he said.