During his speech at the Department of Transportation Friday, President Trump brought on stage part of a 70-pound environmental report to showcase the burdensome regulations that developers have to deal with when trying to commence infrastructure projects.
— Mic (@mic) June 9, 2017
The president visited the Transportation Department Friday as part of his goal to advance infrastructure reform. He pushed for a deregulatory policy so that the U.S. can better compete and “once again be the envy of the world.”
President Trump argued that it takes years, and sometimes decades, for transportation projects to receive the permitting needed to break ground on construction.
As one example, and this happened just 30 minutes ago, I was sitting with a great group of people responsible for their state’s economic development and roadways, all of you are in the room now, and one gentleman from Maryland was talking about a 18-mile road, and he brought with him some of the approvals that they have gotten and paid for. They spent $29 million for an environmental report weighing 70 pounds and costing $24,000 per page. And I said, 'Do me a favor, I’ll make a speech in a little while. Do you mind if I take that and show it?' So I’m going to show it.
While delivering his remarks, the president announced that he has established a new White House office in the Council of Environmental Quality to advance “massive permit reform” so that private developers can clear the federal bureaucracy.
"This Council will also improve transparency by creating a new online dashboard allowing everyone to easily track major projects through every stage of the approval process," the president said, adding that it will “root out inefficiency, clarify lines of authority, and streamline federal, state and local procedures so that communities can modernize their aging infrastructure without fear of outdated federal rules getting in the way."
Trump pointed out that it only took one year to build the Empire State Building, four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge, and five years to build the Hoover Dam. “But today it can take 10 years just to get the approvals and permits needed to build a major infrastructure project,” he exclaimed.
Reuters reports that the White House is proposing a $200 billion government program spread over ten years as part of an initiative to secure additional private funding for an infrastructure revitalization project totaling $1 trillion.