Diana Mendes, AICP, senior vice president and leader of HNTB Corporation’s transit and rail practice, moderated the first of three panels, titled “Getting moving on infrastructure.”
According to Mendes, several key points emerged from her session, including:
• Our country’s current system of environmental review and permitting is delaying delivery of critical infrastructure and needs reform, building on lessons learned from past experiences and best practices.
• Better alignment between authority and accountability is essential to empowering better decision-making, and providing certainty to process timelines and outcomes. This certainty is essential to attracting private investment and financing for infrastructure programs.
• There are many opportunities to reform our existing regulatory system both through improving the effectiveness and efficiency of current procedures as well as amending legislation. We should proceed on both fronts simultaneously to get infrastructure moving. These changes are critical to maintaining our economic competitiveness and enhancing quality of life for all Americans.
More than 150 people attended the event, which was held at the Covington & Burling offices in One CityCenter in Washington, D.C. In addition to Mendes, other participants included Newt Gingrich as well as speakers from the Bipartisan Policy Center, Brookings Institution, Cato Institute and George Washington University, among others. Additional forum sessions included “Reimagining regulatory reform” and “Rethinking executive authority and congressional oversight.”
Mendes recently authored an op-ed in Mass Transit magazine about the significant success of transit-related funding measures nationwide on election day. Mendes said this success marks a shift in Americans’ opinions and the role and benefits of transit.
HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure firm serving public and private owners and contractors. With more than a century of service in the United States, HNTB understands the life cycle of infrastructure and addresses clients’ most complex technical, financial and operational challenges. Professionals nationwide deliver a full range of infrastructure-related services, including award-winning planning, design, program management and construction management. For more information, visit www.hntb.com