Trump wraps up ill-timed ‘infrastructure week’
President Donald Trump capped off his ill-timed “infrastructure week” on Friday with a visit to the Department of Transportation, where the President pledged to reform the permitting process for infrastructure projects.
Trump, standing next to a large flow chart of the permitting process and a series of binders that details the permits for one project, called permitting the “biggest obstacles to creating this new and desperately needed infrastructure.”
Trump’s top White House aides rolled out “infrastructure week” last weekend, hoping the focus — including a trip to Ohio — would divert attention from Thursday’s bombshell testimony from former FBI Director James Comey.
The plan didn’t exactly work, in part because Trump himself overshadowed the policy focus on Monday with a series of tweets about his travel ban, his Department of Justice and the mayor of London.
Trump did not mention Comey during the speech, letting his Friday morning tweet stand as his only statement about the fired FBI director.
Instead, the President proposed the creation of a new council that would help builders navigate the process of getting federal government permits for infrastructure projects.
“This Council will also improve transparency by creating a new online dashboard allowing everyone to easily track major projects through every stage of the approval process,” Trump said.
Nodding to the media, Trump said the reform “doesn’t sound glamorous, they won’t write stories about it,” but added that “it is so important.”
“To all our state and local leaders here today … I want you to know that help is finally, after many, many decades, on its way,” he said. “We are giving control back to the cities and the states.”
Trump also headlined a roundtable with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The roundtable, a White House official said, was meant to “highlight the problems they currently face in getting their infrastructure projects permitted.”