WASHINGTON—It’s time to modernize America’s infrastructure, business leaders say, as it is out of date and holding the economy back.
President Donald Trump announced he would roll out his plans on infrastructure soon. His administration is working to modernize “crumbling infrastructure by stimulating a $1 trillion investment,” he said during a meeting with Mayors at the White House on Jan. 24.
“That will actually, probably, end up being about $1.7 trillion,” he said.
The plan would be released in the annual State of the Union Address on Jan. 30 and more details would be shared after his address, he said.
His administration is partnering with the state and local governments, to find the best ways to rebuild roads, bridges, waterways, and airports, “on time” and “under budget,” Trump said.
He also talked about the progress made in obtaining permits for infrastructure investments.
“We worked with Congress to cut down the approval and permitting process so that it takes no longer than two years, instead of, on average, 10 to 12 to 17 years to build a simple road,” he said.
On Aug. 15, Trump signed an executive order to speed up the environmental review and permitting process. The order aims to fix the fragmented approval system and establishes a two-year goal to process documents for major infrastructure projects.
“Highway builders need up to 16 different approvals, granted through nine different federal agencies that fall under 29 different statutes,” he said during his speech in New York after signing the executive order.
The executive order calls for “one federal decision” under which the lead agency will work with other relevant agencies to decide whether an infrastructure project goes forward.
Trump said the builders would no longer wait for 17 years to get approval or rejection.
“You’ll let them know. If we don’t want a highway, if we don’t want something built, you’re going to let them know quickly.”
The announcement came after a purported draft of the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan leaked to the press.
According to a report by Axios, the draft plan would aim to address transportation, broadband, water and waste, power and electric, and water resources issues in rural areas.
“The draft also says states would be ‘incentivized to partner with local and private investment for completion and operation of projects,’” stated the Axios report.
The White House refused to comment on the content of the leaked document, but said it would announce the plan shortly.