Trump Administration Takes “Historic” Step to Speed Infrastructure Review Process
Atlanta, GA – The Trump Administration is taking a historic step which will dramatically speed up the review process for infrastructure projects throughout the nation.
Speaking from a United Parcel Service (UPS) facility in Atlanta, GA on Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced his Administration is finalizing a proposed rule to reform the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
NEPA requires government agencies to evaluate infrastructure proposals for projects such as highways and pipelines and determine the impact on the environment as well as the surrounding community.
It also requires that the public have an opportunity to weigh in or propose changes to the government’s plan.
The regulations often stymie highway development and can lead to years of litigation.
“We are here today to celebrate a historic breakthrough that will transform the lives of workers and families all across our nation,” President Trump said. “For decades the single biggest obstacle to building a modern transportation system has been the mountains and mountains of buarcratic red tape in Washington D.C.”
The President lamented that reviews of critically-needed infrastructure projects can drag on for decades.
He called such lengthy reviews “so ridiculous.”
Further, the President says under the new reforms to NEPA, the federal government will cut permitting time from up to 20 years or more down to two years or less.
“We’re doing something very dramatic. We just completed an unprecedented, I don’t want to say it’s absolutely unprecedented, top to bottom overhaul, should have been done years ago, of the infrastructure approval process. This is a truly historic breakthrough which means better roads, bridges, tunnels and highways, for every UPS driver and every citizen all across our land,” Mr. Trump stated.
Trucking’s most powerful trade group, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), quickly praised the Trump Administration’s move, hailing it as “good news for truckers, the motoring public, our economy and the environment.”
“It currently takes an average seven years for a highway construction project to get through federal permitting, which is counterproductive in the extreme,” ATA president Chris Spear said. “This cumbersome review process presents an enormous obstacle to modernizing our outdated infrastructure, contributing to more traffic congestion and the harmful emissions that come with it.”
ATA also asserted the trucking industry loses $74.5 billion every year to traffic congestion on the National Highway System, which equates to 425,000 truck drivers sitting idle for an entire year — emitting a staggering 67 million tons of CO2.
Meanwhile, environmental groups are expressing outrage over the reforms.
“This is a clear attempt to silence and sideline people to make it easier for industry to pollute our communities,” president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council and former EPA chief Gina McCarthy said in a statement. “We will not let it stand.”
In addition to announcing the reforms to NEPA, President Trump also used it as an opportunity to draw a clear distinction between himself and the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden, particularly on the issue of regulations.
“The last administration increased the Federal Register by 16,000 pages of job killing regulations,” the President blasted. “Under my administration, we have cut the Federal Register by nearly 25,000 pages… more than any president in history.”
The infrastructure debate will be one to watch as the presidential race heats up moving into the fall.