Trump Promises to Speed Up Infrastructure Construction Approvals | Construction News

Reuters reports that President Donald Trump has pledged to speed up approvals for highways and other projects as part of his proposed $1-trillion boost to fix aging U.S. infrastructure.

Trump said he wants 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 administration is moving ahead with "massive permit reform" and setting up a new council to help project managers navigate bureaucratic hurdles.

Trump said the council will create an online dashboard so everyone can easily track major projects through every stage of the approval process.

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 accountable."

Trump 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federal, state, and local procedures so that communities can modernize their aging infrastructure without fear of outdated federal rules getting in the way."

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the department is asking for public input on other changes it can make to speed approvals.

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 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.