Summary: S.604 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.604. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (03/09/2017)

Highway Rights-of-Way Permitting Efficiency Act of 2017

This bill requires the Department of Agriculture (USDA), with respect to National Forest System land, and the Department of the Interior, with respect to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, to establish a program to enter into memoranda of understanding with states to allow for the permitting of broadband within an operational right-of-way to enable broadband providers to install infrastructure that allows users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications.

The "operational right-of-way" is defined as all real property interests (including easements) acquired for the construction or operation of a project.

A state's governor, or a state's top-ranking transportation official in charge of highway construction, may enter into such a memorandum for a term not to exceed 10 years if the state consents to: (1) federal court jurisdiction, (2) federal environmental review procedures, (3) judicial review of decisions regarding the public availability of documents, (4) maintenance of necessary financial resources, and (5) the provision of any information that USDA or Interior needs to ensure that the state is carrying out its responsibilities.

USDA and Interior must designate projects within an existing operational right-of-way as actions categorically excluded from federal regulations relating to environmental assessments or environmental impact statements.

Interior must establish a Federal Permit Streamlining Project in each BLM field office with responsibility for issuing permits for broadband projects. Under the program, Interior acts as the lead agency for the issuance of a single permit on behalf of all other federal agencies involved in a broadband project through a memorandum of understanding with USDA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.