S. 280 would establish the Federal Permitting Improvement Council to monitor and coordinate the schedules and activities of federal agencies involved in the review, approval, permitting, or planning of certain federal or nonfederal infrastructure construction projects.
Assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing S. 280 would cost $125 million over the 2016-2020 period, primarily for the staffing and activities of the new council. Because the bill could affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that any changes in direct spending would be insignificant. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
S. 280 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), on sponsors of large construction projects that require authorization or environmental review by a federal agency. The bill would require those sponsors to notify the council and the facilitating federal agency when initiating a proposed project. The bill also would authorize federal agencies to charge project sponsors fees to cover some of the costs of administering federal permits and project reviews. To the extent that federal agencies would collect those fees, the bill would impose a mandate on public and private project sponsors. Based on information from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and potential project sponsors, CBO estimates that the cost to comply with the mandates would fall below the annual thresholds for intergovernmental and private-sector mandates established in UMRA ($77 million and $154 million in 2015, respectively, adjusted annually for inflation).