Diary

The President is Deregulating Again, Massive Permitting Reform In Infrastructure Bill

Federalism and Deregulation: Woah These Giants Are Coming Back With A Vengeance.


Looks like reports of their demise were exaggerated, they are both alive and well in the new infrastructure bill. The president detailed  simplified procedures to gain approval for projects and  pledged to give control, back to the cities and the states in his address at the Department of Transportation.

President Trump promised on Friday to include “massive permit reform” in his $1 trillion infrastructure package as a way to speed up the lengthy construction approval process, which he blamed for getting in the way of efforts to repair the country’s infrastructure.

Trump’s goal is to bring the approval process from as long as 10 years down to two years, while providing “one point of contact to deliver ‘yes or no’ for the entire federal government,” Trump said during a speech at the Department of Transportation headquarters.

The White House will try to achieve that target by setting up a new council to assist project managers, allowing permitting steps to occur simultaneously, establishing new penalties for federal agencies that miss deadlines and creating an online dashboard for managers to track projects.

—The Hill

The President laid out the rationale for implementing the reforms citing statistics about the current process.

We are here today to focus on solving 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. And I also knew that from the private sector. It is a long, slow, unnecessarily burdensome process.

My Administration is committed to ending these terrible delays once and for all.  The excruciating wait time for permitting has inflicted enormous financial pain on cities and states all throughout our nation – and has blocked many important projects from ever getting off the ground.

It took only 4 years to build the Golden Gate Bridge and 5 years to build the Hoover Dam and less than one year to build the Empire State Building, people don’t believe that, took less than one year – but today it can take 10 years and far more than that just to get the approvals and permits needed to build a major infrastructure project. These charts beside me are actually a simplified version of our highway permitting process. It includes 16 different approvals involving 10 different federal agencies being governed by 26 different statutes.

Why should we continue to accept what is so clearly unacceptable? Often times for consultants that are making a fortune because you can’t do anything without hiring them, paying them a tremendous amount of money. Having them write up this nonsense. You can’t get approvals.

I was not elected to continue a failed system – I was elected to change it,”

—President Trump

If you look at recent projects, such as the Keystone Pipeline , the Dakota Access Pipeline, or older projects such as the improving the water management systems in states like California, it’s hard to dispute that the process has become a feeding ground for special interests to extract their pound of flesh and it is heavily tilted towards not building rather than building.