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Trump Shortens Infrastructure Planning Cycle: However Climate Change Modifications Are Controversial

ArmchairPolitiicianInfrastructure, August 17, 2017, by Brad Peery, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com, www.ArmchairPolitician.US

President Trump signed an executive order eliminating environmental orders implemented by the Obama administration, and shortening the time for getting approval of federal highway projects to two years. The objective is to eliminate and update permitting regulations for roads, pipelines, bridges and other transportation projects. A key element of the new executive order rolls back standards set by former President Barack Obama that required the federal government to account for climate change and sea-level rise when building infrastructure.

President Trump has proposed a $1 trillion plan to update the nation’s infrastructure. Few details have been given on the plan, but we expect it to evolve project by project. An outline of the plan is that the U.S. will provide $200 billion, and private industry and local governments will provide the remainder. The one plan that has been offered is the replacement of the nation’s antiquated air traffic control system. The new system that is being proposed would replace World War II radar systems with current GPS technology. This seems like a needed improvement. To meet the Trump plan’s financial objectives, this would need to involve a private or non-profit non-federal organization operating the system.

Trump is belligerently opposed by the Democrats on issues such as the approval of Trump nominees for government positions, and opposition to healthcare reform. However, there could be bi-partisan support for infrastructure rebuilding.

The plan to reduce the time for obtaining federal approval for a project begins by having one lead agency work with other review parties to complete environmental reviews and other permits for a project. All permit decisions are required to be made within 90 days. Agencies will have a goal of two years to process environmental reviews of major projects.

A major change in permit requirements is eliminating climate change requirements for project designs. The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, established by Obama as an executive order in 2015, is eliminated. Reinstated is the previous standard adopted under Jimmy Carter in 1977. However, state and local agencies may adopt more rigorous standards. For example, if California, which has endorsed climate change as being real, wants to adopt the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, they may.

The Obama rule gave federal agencies three options to flood-proof new infrastructure projects. They could use the best available climate change science; They could require that standard projects like roads and railways be built two feet above the national 100-year flood elevation standard, and critical buildings like hospitals be built three feet higher; Or they could require infrastructure to be built to at least the 500-year flood plain. The order only applied to government development.

ArmchairPolitician.US Opinion
President Trump promised to simplify the process of getting infrastructure projects, such as roads, approved more quickly by simplifying the process. Not only has the process been simplified, but, time limits have been set on getting agencies to approve or reject projects.

Some progress has been made in identifying infrastructure projects that might be built. Another project that has recently been in the news is the need to renew our river lock systems, which are very old, and assure users of river goods transportation that this mode of product delivery, such as agriculture, will have long term viability.

Climate change science adopted by the United Nations (UN) predicts that the median estimate is that global temperatures will rise by 3 degrees Farenheit, and the oceans will rise by 3 feet. Trump does not believe in climate change, and has thus eliminated costly measures to build structures that will survive if the oceans do rise at the rate predicted by the U.N.

We believe climate change is real. The last three ten-year periods have each been the warmest in modern history. The build-up of carbon in the atmosphere is undeniable. The effects of carbon in the atmosphere are also undeniable in reflecting back sunlight from the atmosphere, and causing higher ocean temperatures. Projects built near the coasts should recognize that climate change is probably real, either in determining where the project is located, or by taking measures to guard against that possibility.
See
ArmchairPolitiicianInfrastructure, June 7, 2017, by Brad Peery, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com, www.ArmchairPolitician.US
A New Air Traffic Control System Is Possible: Will The Congress Step Up And Make It Happen?
See Also:
ArmchairPolitiicianInfrastructure, June 3, 2017, by Brad Peery, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com, www.ArmchairPolitician.US
AP & The New York Times Mischaracterize Trumps Infrastructure & Other Plans. What Will They Really Be Like?

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