President Trump's plan to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure would include stiff penalties for any federal agency found to be stalling new road, bridge or dam approvals.
Trump said the administration would set up a new "council" to help project managers navigate the "bureaucratic maze," but its other function would be to "make sure that every federal agency that is consistently delaying projects by missing deadlines will face tough, new penalties."
Trump announced the council in delivering remarks at the Department of Transportation Friday. "We will hold the bureaucracy accountable," he added.
Trump also said that he will be setting up a new post within the White House Council of Environmental Quality "to root out inefficiency, clarify lines of authority, and streamline federal and state and local procedures so that communities can modernize their aging infrastructure without fear of outdated federal rules getting in their way."
Trump said the changes will be part of a "massive permit reform," representing the first step toward renewing America's aging "roads, rails, runways and rivers."
He said it "doesn't sound glamorous," and reporters "won't write stories about it ... . They won't even talk about it. But it's so important."
"For too long, America has poured trillions and trillions of dollars into rebuilding foreign countries while allowing our own country — the country that we love — and its infrastructure to fall into a state of total disrepair," Trump said. "We have structurally deficient bridges, clogged roads, crumbling dams and locks. Our rivers are in trouble. Our railways are aging. And chronic traffic that slows commerce and diminishes our citizens' quality of life. Other than that, we're doing very well."