Trump cuts red tape (literally), vows to roll back onerous highway regulations

PHOTO: President Donald Trump and Chris Liddell hold up a chart outlining the process to build a federal highway, as Trump talks about his administrations efforts in deregulation at the White House in Washington, Dec. 14, 2017.Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump and Chris Liddell hold up a chart outlining the process to build a federal highway, as Trump talks about his administration's efforts in deregulation at the White House in Washington, Dec. 14, 2017.

If there's one thing President Donald Trump loves, it's a visual aid. (And, reportedly, Diet Coke.)

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At a press event in the White House's Roosevelt Room, he flashed a chart outlining a maze of highway permitting regulations.

"Chris is not tall enough for this chart," the commander-in-chief quipped, as aides, including Assistant to the President Chris Liddell struggled to display the complex, color-coded poster. "Neither is anybody else."

According to Trump, an onerous regulatory environment requires would-be builders "go through nine different agencies, make 16 different decisions, under 29 different laws" to get permits for a highway.

"This chart -- I really love this chart," he added. "It really explains what a disaster it is."

His administration, Trump says, is "cutting years of wasted time and money out of the permitting process for vital infrastructure projects."

PHOTO: President Donald Trump uses scissors to cut a red tape tied between stacks of papers representing government regulations of the 1960s and today after he spoke about his efforts in deregulation in the White House in Washington, Dec. 14, 2017. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump uses scissors to cut a red tape tied between stacks of papers representing government regulations of the 1960s and today after he spoke about his efforts in deregulation in the White House in Washington, Dec. 14, 2017.

Since Trump took office, the Department of Transportation says, it has begun rolling back 82 regulations, with an additional 31 deregulatory actions planned next year. (DOT also initiated 76 regulatory actions, fulfilling Trump's two-for-one regulation elimination goal.)

"The never-ending growth of red tape in America has come to a sudden, screeching and beautiful halt," Trump said today.

"Unnecessary, duplicative or overly burdensome regulations are being eliminated and the permitting process is being streamlined to expedite much-needed infrastructure projects for the benefit of communities across the country," Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao, who joined the president at the White House event, echoed in a statement this afternoon.