President Donald Trump used a chart to illustrate the “horrible” multi-step permitting process that often spans more than 10 years just to build “a simple highway.” He raised the issue while speaking Tuesday with more than 50 leading CEOs at the White House.
Trump pointed to the prop, noting that there are roughly 29 different statutes and five different executive orders that apply to the process for starting infrastructure projects at the federal level alone — not taking into account state regulations. Calling the degree of “red tape” involved in government building projects “incredible,” the president promised to speed up the zoning and permitting process and bring approval for projects down to one year.
“So this is to build a highway — a simple highway,” Trump noted. “But getting a building approved in New York is a horrible, horrible thing. And that’s nothing compared to when you get into the highways and the dams.”
CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller tweeted out a picture of Trump with the chart, noting, “At Town Hall with CEOs, Pres Trump illustrates all the permits and red tape in the way of a [sic] building a new highway.”
Trump promised to slash stifling regulations that prevent infrastructure growth and job creation as his administration looks toward revitalizing the economy.
“We’re doing so many cuts on regulations. And we have a book on regulations, and if you add them all up, it goes up to the ceiling three times over. It’s just one after another after another. It’s just like that chart,” Trump said. “I thought that chart was so descriptive, and every industry is just like that chart. And that’s just to build a simple roadway or highway. That’s what you have to go through.”
The president promised to rid the process of 90-95 percent of federal regulations while still emphasizing “the same kind of protection” for the environment.
“We have a tremendous person that we put in charge of the [Environmental Protection Agency], Scott Pruitt, who is an environmental person,” Trump said. “He wants clean air. He wants clean water. But he doesn’t think it takes you 26 years to get a permit to build a building and to have jobs, at which time those companies are usually gone or out of business.”
“So, we’re really speeding up the process,” Trump added. “We’re going to try and take that process from a minimum of ten years down to one year.”