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Press Release: President Obama’s Plan To Streamline Infrastructure Reviews

NEW YORK, May 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Common Good, the nonpartisan government reform coalition that has been championing reform of the nation's infrastructure review process, today praised President Obama's newly announced effort to streamline the infrastructure permitting process but said it will "carefully watch the details of the White House plan" as it develops.

Philip K. Howard, Founder and Chair of Common Good, said that the organization supports major elements of the President's plan, such as synchronizing agency reviews, shortening decision making times, allowing the public to track the status of permitting reviews, and creating an interagency infrastructure permitting authority to find ways to streamline the process.

"The President's plan embraces many ideas that Common Good has been actively promoting," Howard said. "It's a big step forward. But the devil, as always, is in the details. We want to make sure special interests don't hijack the plan to protect a failed status quo. We need real reform, not window-dressing."

A nationwide survey of U.S. voters conducted by the nonpartisan Clarus Research Group and commissioned by Common Good last November found that a majority of voters (61%) believe it would be possible to cut the amount of time it takes to do environmental reviews of infrastructure projects without harming the environment. A majority of every partisan group – Democrats (52%), Republicans (72%), and independents (59%) – agreed.

"Modern infrastructure is essential to America's way of life and a growing economy, and so are strong environmental protections. But when government can't even rebuild an unsafe bridge without years of unnecessary delay, something is terribly wrong," said Howard. "The system must be changed."

The U.S. “Is Losing Its Soul”

In a new review of The Rule of Nobody, Jesse Singal of the Boston Globe says that Philip Howard presents a "convincing, provocative argument… Howard’s clear, levelheaded descriptions of how things are done elsewhere…proves his point: We really need to figure out a better way to do operate, lest the country grind to a halt."

Singal writes:

In 2011, writes Philip K. Howard, "firefighters stood on the beach in Alameda, California, and watched a suicidal man flailing in water 150 yards offshore."

None of them moved to rescue the man, because, as a result of budget cuts, they hadn’t been recertified in “land-based water rescues,” and therefore certain “legal liabilit[ies]” could arise. So they watched him struggle for an hour, and then he drowned.

This tragic incident highlights the key points in Howard’s convincing, provocative argument. The United States, he writes, "is losing its soul. Instead of creating legal structures that support our values, Americans are abandoning our values in deference to the bureaucratic structures."

Click here to read the full review.

Majority Believe Environmental Reviews of Infrastructure Projects Could Be Shortened

Press release, PR Newswire

Health Court Reform Proposal Gains Key Support

Press release, PR Newswire

Read full version on our website.

Momentum For Health Courts Continues To Build

Press release, PR Newswire

Large Majorities of Voters Want Federal Government Simplified

Press release, PR Newswire

U.S. Voters Think Complicated Government Rules And Regulations Are Major Impediments To Job Creation

Press release, PR Newswire

69% Of Small Business Leaders Say Complicated Government Regulations Impede Job Creation

Press release, PR Newswire

Voters Support “No Budget, No Pay” Proposal To Force Congress To Act

Press release, PR Newswire

New Nationwide Poll: Most Voters Distrust U.S. Legal System

Press release, PR Newswire

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