Chad Whiteman Chad Whiteman
Vice President, Environment and Regulatory Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


May 29, 2024


In today's rapidly evolving economic landscape, states face intense competition in attracting business and stimulating growth—components that require infrastructure to meet the needs of a modern society. However, one of the biggest obstacles impeding infrastructure development is our broken permitting system.

To address this at the federal level, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched Permit America to Build last year urging Congress to modernize our permitting process with meaningful and durable reforms—a necessary step to build critical infrastructure nationwide. States also need to up their game and should adopt permitting policies that promote more certainty and efficiency.

Zoom in: State Action on Permitting Reform

A few bright spots include South Carolina's and Palmetto Sites program that streamline location and expansion processes to provide businesses with comprehensive information and ensure sites are ready for development. Similarly, Georgia's GRAD program, Tennessee's Certified Sites program, and Ohio's investment in shovel-ready sites facilitate business growth by expediting site preparation with vetted locations conducive to investment.

In Pennsylvania, as well, improving the permitting, licensing, and certification process is a top priority—with Gov. Shapiro even offering an online money-back guarantee system if agencies don’t meet a required approval deadline. And Texas recently approved legislation that allows businesses to seek permitting approvals from qualified third-party reviewers if local authorities fail to respond to permit applications within 15 days of the deadline.  

Such actions are yielding results. Texas was named Business Facilities’ 2023 State of the Year, recognizing its robust business-friendly environment while Georgia broke economic development records for the third year in a row. Tennessee, too, set a new record for business formation in 2023 while electric vehicle manufacturer Columbia Vehicle Group recently announced it selected South Carolina for new manufacturing operations.

Furthermore, the Minnesota Chamber has underscored that addressing the state’s lengthy permitting process is one solution to help reverse the trend of Minnesota-based companies expanding in other states at a higher rate than within its borders.  

The Path Forward

While no one state has the perfect formula, it’s clear that advancing infrastructure and attracting businesses go hand in hand. There is bipartisan agreement that we need to modernize our federal permitting process—now we need bipartisan action. The U.S. Chamber is working with our state partners to highlight state-based solutions that policymakers in Washington, DC could replicate.

To learn more about our Permit America to Build campaign, click here.

About the authors

Chad Whiteman

Chad Whiteman

Chad S. Whiteman is vice president for environment and regulatory affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute.

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