From: Kaitlan Collins
Date: June 9, 2017 at 10:58:54 AM EDT
Subject: [WHCA Print] [WH Pool] In-town pool report #2
Excerpts of the President’s remarks at DOT are below. They are embargoed until delivery.
Both Secretary Chao and Zinke joined us at the White House yesterday for a meeting with state and local leaders to develop plans to replace America’s decaying infrastructure and to construct new roads, rails, pipelines, tunnels, and bridges all across this nation.
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.
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 – 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 – but today it can take 10 years 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.
The $2.3 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, as an example, amassed a 150,000-page administrative record. 150,000 pages is a 5-story tall mountain of paper.
How can a country prosper under such restraints?
Why should we continue to accept what is so clearly unacceptable?
I was not elected to continue a failed system – I was elected to change it.
To all our state and local leaders here today, I want you to know that help is finally on the way. We are giving control back to the cities and the states. You know best how to plan your communities, analyze your projects, and protect your local environment.
To do this we are setting up a new Council to help project managers navigate the bureaucratic maze. This Council will also improve transparency by creating a new online dashboard allowing everyone to easily track major projects through every stage of the approval process.
This Council will make sure that any federal agency that consistently delays projects by missing deadlines will face tough, new penalties. We will hold the bureaucracy accountable.
We are also creating a new office in the Council of Environmental Quality to root out inefficiency, clarify lines of authority, and streamline federal, state and local procedures so that communities can modernize their aging infrastructure without fear of outdated federal rules getting in the way.
This massive permit reform is only the first step in renewing America’s roads, rails, runways and rivers.
As I discussed in Cincinnati, my new vision for American infrastructure will generate $1 trillion in infrastructure investment.
State and local leaders will have more power to decide which projects get built, when they start and how they are funded.
And investors will have a much more predictable environment that encourages them to invest billions of dollars in capital that is currently stuck on the sidelines.
White House Correspondent
The Daily Caller