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Trump Spoke on U.S. Infrastructure Building at Roads and Rails Event; Focused on Regulatory Relief

June 9, 2017 (EIRNS)—This morning at the Department of Transportation, President Donald Trump spoke at the Roads, Rails, and Regulatory Relief Roundtable, reiterating his commitment to building U.S. infrastructure. His focus was on "permit reform," to cut down the time and expense of the process of getting permits and approvals for projects. He announced that a new council will be formed to assist project managers to get through the process, and a new office will be created to prevent outdated Federal rules from holding things up. He displayed a 70-pound, three-binder environmental report that was done for an 18-mile road project in Maryland. The $29 million report worked out to $24,000 per page.

Trump’s activities today top off his announced "infrastructure week" of meetings and initiatives. On Wednesday, he spoke at the Ohio River in Cincinnati, highlighting the need to rebuild the 12,000 mile waterway system, and other goals, which today, he referred to as, "roads, rails, runways and rivers."

A letter of support for Trump on this was sent this week by four Ohio Democrats, Representatives Marcy Kaptur, Tim Ryan, and Marcia Fudge, and Joyce Beatty. They commended Trump’s efforts to invest in American infrastructure, and his visit to Ohio to highlight the needs, and stressed many areas needing work. They cited aged city water systems needing modernization and that the electric grid needs upgraded. They asked for improvements to the Great Lakes locks, dams, harbors and ship channel, including the St. Lawrence Seaway. In particular, finishing the Soo Locks upgrade is critical. They see expanding infrastructure as the way to "revitalize the domestic steel industry, a foundational economic sector."

Trump did not give further details this week on financing the infrastructure program, beyond his existing plan of the Federal government outlay of $200 billion, which then is to result in a one trillion dollar program, by local and state governments being involved , and private investors joining in.

Yesterday, Trump spoke at a White House infrastructure summit with state, local and tribal leaders from across the country. His five minute welcome said that these people are the "stewards" of most of the roads and infrastructure in the nation, and the Federal government will partner with them. He decried how, to build a highway in the United States, on average involves 10 to 16 government agencies. Approvals can take 12 years.

A new White House infrastructure document this week was posted June 8, "President Trump’s Plan to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure," consisting of a short video and list, to present five intentions:

  1. "Lower the average permit time from 10 years to 2 years;"

  2. "Unleash private sector capital and expertise to rebuild our cities and states;"

  3. "Invest in rural infrastructure;"

  4. "Reimagine America’s approach to infrastructure with transformative projects;"

  5. "Work-force training initiative focused on skill-based apprenticeship education."

A "by the numbers" section reiterates the Trump infrastructure intent, with selected quantification. There should be one million apprentices in two years. On the money side, there should be $200 billion of Federal infrastructure funding. Of that, $100 billion is for "local prioritization of infrastructure needs;" $25 billion for "rural infrastructure" and $15 billion for "transformative projects."