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New Details for President Trump’s Infrastructure Plan
Last week the White House held their Infrastructure Week in Washington, and League staff Ken McLeod, Amelia Neptune and I were present at the President’s finale speech.
The League's Ken McLeod and Amelia Nepture
Reducing Permit wait time
What he announced was a council to streamline and expedite the permitting process. He also announced an online dashboard for the public to track projects as they go through the permitting process, and a new office within the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) out of the White House, that will follow projects through the process. The goal is to get major projects through the permitting process in two years.
Putting the annoucements in context:
- The FAST ACT already requires a council to speed up project permitting. After Senators Portman (R-OH) and McCaskill (D-MO) called out the duplication, the White House agreed these are the same thing.
- In 2011, the Obama Administration had already created a public dashboard on permitting.
Reducing permitting time is a bipartisan issue and something bureaucrats also agree with. The problem is it is a difficult complicated issue. How we can ensure critical environmental and historical protections, while also allowing faster processing of permits, is something that will take time and expertise.
President Trump had planned to announce an Executive Order to fix the permitting process last week, but it could not be finalized in time, instead this council and dashboard was announced.
New Details on Funding
Trump also announced that the federal government would give control back to state and local governments, and would promote “Buy America” standards and private investment.
Later that day the White House released a blog with a funding breakdown. Showing that of the $200 Billion, half will go “local prioritization,” if this is truly going to local governments (and not just states) this could be really good for bicycling and walking.
We are still waiting for more details on the “transformative projects,” the apprentice programs and what local prioritization really means, but this funding breakdown is new information, and it is encouraging.