New Trump Order Aims to Speed Infrastructure Project Reviews

Trump looks to revitalize infrastructure push with New York meeting

- President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order to speed approvals of permits for highways, bridges and other major building efforts as part of his proposal to spend $1 trillion to fix aging us infrastructure.

Trump also said that he is looking to speed up the approval process by implementing a "One Federal Decision policy" that would assign a lead federal agency to each major project.

"And actually, infrastructure is something that I think we'll have bipartisan support on", Trump told reporters at Trump Tower in New York City on August 15 amid a barrage of questions about last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Va. The standard was recently updated for the first time in more than 37 years, and sought to ensure that federal agencies used protective design standards to guard against increased flood risks when constructing in flood-prone areas.

Trump said regulations have made the U.S. "literally like a third-world country".

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In June, Trump said one of the biggest obstacles to new infrastructure projects was "the painfully slow, costly and time-consuming process for getting permits and approvals to build".

"We're going to get infrastructure built quickly, inexpensively, relatively speaking and the permitting process will go very, very quickly", Trump said, according to a transcript from Politico. He says, "You're just adding a new layer of confusion and bureaucracy to existing problems". It has issued dozens of rules and orders to reverse Obama-era regulations addressing climate change and its consequences, such as rising sea levels and more severe storms.

Rafael Lemaitre, former director of public affairs at FEMA who worked on the Obama-era order, said Trump is undoing "the most significant action taken in a generation" to safeguard USA infrastructure.

"This over-regulated permitting process is a massive self-inflicted wound on our country. It's very simple. We're not going to approve it". "More efficient and effective federal infrastructure decisions can transform our economy, so the federal government, as a whole, must change the way it processes environmental reviews and authorization decisions". They could use the best available climate change science; they could require that standard projects like roads and railways be built two feet above the national 100-year flood elevation standard and critical buildings like hospitals be built three feet higher; or they could require infrastructure be built to at least the 500-year floodplain. That agency would be the primary point of contact for the project and help guide the project through the stages of the environmental review process.

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