The Trump administration appears poised to move forward with a $1 trillion plan to improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure. The details remain elusive, particularly when it comes to financing, but its success will ultimately hinge on how effectively it avoids degenerating into a pork-barrel free for all.
We’ll also get a good feel for whether Democrats are serious about supporting infrastructure spending or whether they’ll retreat behind some fig leaf in reflex opposition to anything Trump.
If the president does manage to plow forward, however, a positive side effect will be his insistence on cutting regulatory barriers that increase delays and costs.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the president frequently refers to a “flow chart” showing how the “permitting process for a new highway can involve up to 16 federal agencies.” The administration hopes to “shrink the permitting schedule for such projects from as much as 10 years to two or less,” the Journal revealed.
This makes eminent sense. Coupled with a responsible approach that sets rational priorities — maybe we’re in Fantasyland, here — and perhaps there’s hope that a Trump infrastructure binge could produce tangible results in a timely fashion rather than devolve into a wasteful exercise of special-interest politics and empire building.