The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has re-authorized Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41). IIJA has also established the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council) as a permanent Independent Executive Branch agency responsible for administering the FAST-41 program.
The number of FAST-41 projects is expected to notably increase given recent policy and financial investments. The six technology-related sectors eligible for the FAST-41 program (semiconductors, artificial intelligence and machine learning, high-performance computing and advanced computer hardware and software, quantum information science and technology, data storage and data management, and cybersecurity) were added as a result of S.3451, which was signed into law on August 17, 2022. In addition, the Inflation Reduction Act allocates $350 million for the Permitting Council to implement infrastructure projects and advance infrastructure permitting efficiency and predictability.
FAST-41 intends to improve the timeliness, predictability, and transparency of the Federal environmental review process, including permitting and authorization, for “covered” infrastructure projects, which fall within the following categories:
|1. Conventional energy production|
2. Renewable energy production
3. Electricity transmission
4. Surface transportation
6. Ports and waterways
7. Water resource
12. Carbon capture
14. Artificial intelligence and machine learning
15. High-performance computing and advanced computer hardware and software
16. Quantum information science and technology
17. Data storage and data management
Project sponsors, who are often private entities, must apply for the FAST-41 program to receive coverage for their projects and obtain program benefits. Approved FAST-41 projects and other large or complex infrastructure projects get added to the Federal Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard (Permitting Dashboard). In an effort to promote and enhance transparency and accountability in the Federal permitting process, the Permitting Dashboard is available online for the public, Federal agencies, and project developers to track and explore mapped projects by sector, status, and permitting category.
TCG has entered into a Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) with the General Services Administration (GSA) for FAST-41 project support. The scope of the BOA includes environmental compliance support services for FAST-41 Dashboard Projects, such as the preparation of environmental impact statements, environmental assessments, and related analyses for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws and Executive Orders (E.O.), including but not limited to, the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, E.O. 11988 Floodplain Management, and E.O. 12898 Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.