By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) Conservative talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh talks often about how his friend and our president, Donald Trump, is a man of action, a doer, a results-oriented kind of guy.
Trump shuns “process” in favor of actually solving problems and seeing things get done.
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That stands in contrast to official Washington, the chattering consultant class, the diplomats, and anyone else who makes their living talking about what needs to be done instead of actually getting things done.
Being a man of results long before he ever took office, the president knows that tens of millions of Americans are just like him: They don’t thrive on ‘process,’ they survive and thrive on results.
He (and they) also know that very often government, with its labyrinth of overlapping, burdensome, expensive rules and regulations, impedes progress, stymies results, and often proves to be such a barrier that many projects that need to get done never even get off the ground.
So this week, Trump put pen to paper and signed an order that will, hopefully, dramatically overhaul the cumbersome federal regulatory processes that prevent Americans from building things in a timely, cost-effective manner.
In announcing his action at the White House, the president said:
Today, we’re taking another historic step in our campaign to slash job-killing regulations and improve the quality of life for all of our citizens.
In the past, many America’s — of America’s most critical infrastructure projects have been tied up and bogged down by an outrageously slow and burdensome federal approval process. And I’ve been talking about it for a long time — where it takes many, many years to get something built — get something built — done in any way. The builders are not happy. Nobody is happy. It takes 20 years. It takes 30 years. It take numbers that nobody would even believe.
These endless delays waste money, keep projects from breaking ground, and deny jobs to our nation’s incredible workers.
From day one, my administration has made fixing this regulatory nightmare a top priority. And we want to build new roads, bridges, tunnels, highways bigger, better, faster, and we want to build them at less cost.
That is why, for the first time in over 40 years, today we are issuing a proposed new rule under the National Environmental Policy Act to completely overhaul the dysfunctional bureaucratic system that has created these massive obstructions. Now, we’re going to have very strong regulation, but it’s going to go very quickly. And if it doesn’t pass, it’s going to not pass quickly. It doesn’t have to take 10 years or much longer than that.
These proposed reforms will reduce traffic in our cities, connect our rural communities, and get Americans where they need to go more quickly and more safely.
The president even cited days past when regulations weren’t so plentiful and, thus, so burdensome, allowing Americans to do and build wonderful things, and how that has changed over the decades, thanks to ever-increasing bureaucracy:
America is a nation of builders. It took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge, five years to build the Hoover Dam, and less than one year — can you believe that? — to build the Empire State Building. Yet today, it can take more than 10 years just to get a permit to build a simple road — just a very simple road. And usually, you’re not even able to get the permit. It’s unusual when you get it. It’s big government at its absolute worst, and other countries look at us and they can’t believe it.
For example, in North Carolina, it took 25 years to begin construction of the Marc Basnight Bridge. In Alaska, improvements on a 15-mile stretch of Sterling Highway — the only road connecting local communities to the rest of the state, and a very dangerous area — it’s been delayed for over 15 years, but we’re getting it started. In Washington State, it took two decades to finish environmental reviews for the runway at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Think of that. It takes decades.
The United States will not be able to compete and prosper in the 21st century if we continue to allow a broken and outdated bureaucratic system hold us back from building what we need: the roads, the airports, the schools, everything.
Right now, it takes over seven years, and oftentimes much longer — and seven years is like record time — to complete approvals for a simple highway — the simplest of them. With today’s proposed reforms, we will reduce that number by more than 70 percent.
The president’s objective is to get projects approved in two years or less, while still adhering to federal environmental standards and laws.
One drawback: Many of these projects are not only hijacked by the federal bureaucracy, but they are also hijacked by the legal system. If ever there was a force against progress in our country, it is the American Left with their myriad environmental organizations who use the existing infrastructure to rail and litigate against new infrastructure.
Then again, the president continues to nominate constitutionalists to the federal bench, mitigating that problem as well.
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