The relationship between inelastic tunneling processes and the traversal time for tunneling is studied with emphasis on the local aspects of the tunneling time. Viewed in this framework, the local tunneling time is shown to be a dominant factor in determining the inelastic tunneling probability. It is shown that the Buttiker-Landauer semiclassical formalism, when generalized to the case of local interactions and applied to the calculation of inelastic tunneling probabilities, gives results identical to other perturbation theory calculations such as the Bardeen formula. Analytical results derived for square potential barrier are shown to hold also for strongly biased barriers. Application to inelastic tunneling in typical scanning tunneling microscope configuration are discussed.