| WASHINGTON, June 9
WASHINGTON, June 9 President Donald Trump on
Friday vowed new efforts to speed approvals for highways and
other projects as part of his proposal for a $1 trillion boost
to fix aging U.S. infrastructure.
At the U.S. Transportation Department, Trump said his goal
is to solve "one of the biggest obstacles to creating this new
and desperately-needed infrastructure – and that is the
painfully slow, costly and time-consuming process for getting
permits and approvals to build."
Trump said the White House is setting up a new council to
help project managers navigate bureaucratic hurdles. "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," Trump said.
He said the council will make sure that any federal agency
that "consistently delays projects by missing deadlines will
face tough, new penalties. We will hold the bureaucracy
The White House is also creating a new office in the Council
of Environmental Quality "to 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infrastructure without fear of outdated federal rules getting in
Trump said it took "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."
The Republican president, who was a New York-based real
state developer before taking office, has repeatedly decried the
process of winning approval for highway permitting. "It includes
16 different approvals involving 10 different federal agencies
being governed by 26 different statutes," Trump said.
"How can a country prosper under such restraints?" Trump
asked. "Why should we continue to accept what is so clearly
unacceptable? I was not elected to continue a failed system – I
was elected to change it."
The administration proposes $200 billion in government
funding over 10 years as part of a goal of getting $1 trillion
in public and private infrastructure spending.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer has said the budget
cuts $206 billion in infrastructure spending across several
Cabinet departments, however, including $96 billion in planned
highway trust fund spending.
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Steve Holland; Editing by
Chris Sanders and Tom Brown)