President Donald Trump used a bit of theatrics to illustrate how red tape can delay the construction of roads, bridges, and mass transit projects during a final meeting for the White House’s so-called “infrastructure week.”
Speaking at the Department of Transportation following a “Roads, Rails and Regulatory Relief Roundtable” meeting, Trump walked across the stage to a pile of oversized binders full of policy paperwork. He flipped through the pages showing one of the binder’s lengths before tossing it on the floor, where it landed with a loud thud.
“Look, nobody’s going to read it,” Trump said as he flipped through another book. “Except for the consultants who get a fortune.”
The president argued that the oversized binders could be replaced by just a few simple pages and be just good. He then vowed to streamline the approval process in order to build projects at an expedited rate.
Naturally, Twitter had some thoughts, with a handful of users suggesting the props were the “new binders full of women” the line Mitt Romney infamously used when answering a question about workplace inequality during the second presidential debate in 2012.
In order to improve efficiency, Trump said that he would create a council to ensure the approval of “desperately-needed infrastructure.” The council would then work to improve transparency “by creating a new online dashboard allowing everyone to easily track major projects through every stage of the approval process.” He did something similar with the American Technology Council, which Trump created to help government modernize and improve IT infrastructure.
It’s worth noting that the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council — a commission established in 2015 with a nearly identical function — already exists. It remains unclear how Trump’s version would differ.