(p. A21) America used to be the envy of the world in building great projects responsibly, efficiently and on time. The Pentagon was built in 16 months. The 1,500-mile Alaska-Canadian Highway, which passes through some of the world’s most rugged terrain, took about eight months. Today, infrastructure projects across America often require several years simply to get through the federal government’s pre-build permitting process. Consider a few examples.
New U.S. highway construction projects usually take between nine and 19 years from initial planning and permitting to completion of construction, according to a 2002 Government Accountability Office study. It will have taken 14 years to permit an expansion of Gross Reservoir in Colorado, and it took almost 20 years to permit the Kensington gold mine in Alaska.
It took four years to construct a new runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, but it took 15 years to get the permits. Todd Hauptli of the American Association of Airport Executives bitterly joked to the Senate Commerce Committee last year, “It took longer to build that runway than the Great Pyramids of Egypt.”
These problems have been building for decades as the U.S. regulatory state has grown.
For the full commentary, see:
DAN SULLIVAN. “How to Put Building Permits on a Fast Track; It can take 15 years to win approval for a new airport runway. No wonder U.S. infrastructure needs a lift.” The Wall Street Journal (Mon., Dec. 5, 2016): A21.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Dec. 4, 2016.)