Bush paves way for faster road development

| Friday, September 20, 2002

President George W. Bush has issued an executive order to streamline the environmental review process for building new roads in an effort to jump-start lagging highway projects. The order comes at a time when many states are cutting back on highway projects due to a lack of funding.

The executive order calls for a Cabinet-level task force reporting to the president through the chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality to ensure that environmentally-sound projects are not held up unnecessarily by inefficient review procedures.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said too many road projects are delayed by a "complex and often duplicative" environmental permit process.

"This initiative is intended to make our transportation investments more efficient, helping to ease congestion and reduce pollution," he said.

The order also forms an interagency Transportation Infrastructure Streamlining Task Force, with Mineta as chairman, to streamline environmental reviews of specific, high-impact airport, highway, transit and intermodal projects.

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