President Streamlines Infrastructure Construction

Published September 29, 2017

Flanked by Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a press conference at Trump Tower in New York City, President Donald Trump announced his signing of a sweeping executive order (EO) eliminating and streamlining some permitting regulations in order to speed the construction of critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and pipelines.

The EO establishes a “one federal decision policy” under which a single lead federal agency works with others to complete environmental reviews and permitting decisions for each project. All federal permitting decisions will have to be made within 90 days. The plan also rolls back standards set by former President Barack Obama requiring the federal government to account for climate change and sea-level rise when building infrastructure.

“It’s going to be a very streamlined process, and by the way, if it doesn’t meet environmental safeguards, we’re not going to approve it,” Trump said at the August 15 press conference.

The New York Times reports some Republicans applauded Trump’s EO, including Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), who issued a statement saying, “It’s encouraging to have a president who understands that regulatory reform is a precondition for any successful infrastructure policy.”

In another statement, Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA), who had sponsored failed legislation to block Obama’s flood standard, said he was thrilled by Mr. Trump’s decision because Obama’s rule would have increased the cost of a new home in Louisiana by 25 to 30 percent, pricing the poor out of the market.

—Staff Reports