NEW YORK—President Donald Trump announced his infrastructure proposal Tuesday, a plan he signed via executive order that set a two-year deadline for the permitting process. This would require only one federal government green-lit approval instead of several.
Trump proposed using $200 billion in taxpayer dollars for $1 trillion of projects to privatize the air traffic control system, reinforce rural infrastructure, and renovate bridges, roads and waterways.
“Just blocks away is the Empire State Building. It took 11 months to build the Empire State Building, but today it could take as long as a decade or much more than that. In many case it could take as many as 25 years just to get approvals to start construction of a fairly routine high-rise,” the president told reporters in the lobby at Trump Towers during a press conference. “My executive order requires all agencies to work together efficiently but it also requires one lead agency from each major infrastructure project. It also holds each agencies accountable if they fail to streamline their due process.”
Prior to his announcement, Trump met with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Director of the Office of Management Budget Mick Mulvaney and White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly to discuss his plan.
“This over-regulated permitting process is a self-inflicted on our country. It’s disgraceful, denying our people much needed investments in their community,” Trump said before he held up a long sheet of paper that touched the floor, which he said was a flowchart illustrating the current permitting process.
The president then showed much shorter piece of paper that he said described the new process.
On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to reform the way the federal government dealt with infrastructure projects, pointing to his background in real estate development.
“We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals,” Trump said in his campaign victory speech on November 9. “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.”
In addition, White House aides in attendance included include Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser, and Reed Cordish from the Office of American Innovation.
Chief strategist Steve Bannon, however, did not attend the meeting Monday, adding to speculations of where he currently stands with President Trump.