August 18, 2017
President Donald Trump has issued an executive order that aims to streamline the permitting process for infrastructure projects to quicken the pace of completion of highway and bridge projects across the U.S.
Trump has long called for the reduction of regulatory steps for infrastructure projects. In April he spoke at two events stressing this point, while displaying a lengthy flow chart of a permitting process for a highway.
He showed a similar chart in announcing the executive order that highlighted process taking 10 years for a highway. Trump followed that display with another chart showing a process only taking two years.
“Highway builders must get up to 16 different approvals involving nine different federal agencies governed by 29 different statutes,” Trump says. “One agency alone can stall a project for many, many years and even decades. Not only does this cost our economy billions of dollars, but it also denies our citizens the safe and modern infrastructure they deserve. This over-regulated permitting process is a massive self-inflicted wound on our country.”
The key points of the executive order, as provided in a fact sheet include:
“We are going to get infrastructure built quickly, inexpensively, relatively speaking, and the permitting process will go very, very quickly,” Trump says. “No longer will we tolerate one job-killing delay after another, and no longer will we accept a broken system that benefits consultants and lobbyists at the expense of hardworking Americans.”
Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director James Bass says his agency commends the executive order and the two-year goal for completion of the permitting process for infrastructure projects.
“This will have a significant impact in helping to expedite the delivery of transportation projects,” Bass says. “This action will assist states like Texas that have been able to take on more environmental review authority from the Federal Highway Administration and move projects through the review process in a more expedited fashion, thus delivering projects ahead of schedule and under budget while maintaining environmental safeguards.”
The full text of the executive order is available here.