Trump vows to speed up permitting for infrastructure projects

President Trump said Friday he’s taking steps to speed up the permitting process for building new roads and bridges by creating a special council to cut through federal red tape. Speaking at the Department of Transportation in Washington, Mr. Trump demonstrated his contempt for what he called unnecessary regulations by lifting a heavy binder of environmental impact rules required for one road project in Maryland, the Inter County Connector highway linking U.S. 1 and Interstate 270. He said the report weighed 70 pounds and cost $24 million, and the president tossed the binder onto the stage floor with a thud. “How can a country prosper under this kind of nonsense?” Mr. Trump asked the audience of labor leaders and state transportation officials. “I was not elected to continue a failed system, I was elected to change it.” The president, who is promoting a $1 trillion plan to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, said his administration is embarking on “massive permit reform” to speed up projects that often take more than 10 years to receive final approval from various federal and state agencies. At the heart of the plan will be a new federal council designed “to help project managers navigate the bureaucratic maze,” Mr. Trump said. The panel would have the authority to speed up permitting and impose fines on federal agencies that slow down action on permit applications. “We will hold the bureaucracy accountable,” Mr. Trump said. “No longer can we allow these rules and regulations to tie down our economy, chain up our prosperity and sap our great American spirit.”


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