Trump: Permitting process ‘unnecessarily burdensome’

The US president said an abundance of red tape was slowing down transformational projects and promised to hold bureaucracy accountable.

US President Donald Trump closed out the administration’s “infrastructure week” with a focus on streamlining approvals for major projects, calling the current process “painfully slow, costly and time-consuming”.

Speaking at the Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Washington DC, Trump said he aimed to establish one federal point of contact for the permitting process. He added that the administration would create a council to help managers push through projects and hold federal agencies accountable for failing to hit deadlines. The goal is to reduce permitting time from 10 years down to two.

“Instead of rebuilding our country, Washington has spent decades building a dense thicket of rules, regulations and red tape,” Trump said. “How can a country prosper under this kind of nonsense?”

Trump’s Friday speech came at the end of a week which the administration said would be dedicated to addressing the country’s crumbling infrastructure. On Thursday, Trump met with governors and mayors to discuss aligning federal policies with local needs. This followed a speech Monday on the privatisation of US air traffic control and a stump-style address to supporters Wednesday in Cincinnati.

Easing regulations has been a focus of Trump’s infrastructure plan. An outline released last month alongside the budget called the environmental review and permitting process “fragmented, inefficient and unpredictable”.