"This package includes a number of provisions that are designed to spur economic and job growth that will also boost the housing sector," said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. "Specifically, it will streamline the regulatory and permitting process to get new projects off the ground, place an emphasis on vocational training, and delegate authority back to state and local governments."
The plan expedites environmental reviews by giving the Army Corps of Engineers primary authority to make jurisdictional determinations under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and removing the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to veto a CWA Section 404 permit. Improvements to the CWA Section 404 permit program are particularly important to home builders who rely on them to authorize impacts to wetlands and streams as a result of residential developments, utility lines and linear transportation projects, among other activities.
The proposal also contains a number of initiatives to help to alleviate the severe labor shortage in the residential construction industry. It would expand Pell Grants and alter the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education program to increase funding to high schools "to promote strategies such as apprenticeship, work-based learning and dual-enrollment."
"A robust transportation system that enables people to live near where they work will benefit housing and the economy," said Noel. "We urge Congress to support the president's infrastructure initiative."
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