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Chao, Senate Democrats Spar on Infrastructure Proposal

Chao, Senate Democrats Spar on Infrastructure Proposal

Transportation secretary says ask the White House about gas tax increase

ROLLCALL.com
Posted Mar 1, 2018 4:17 PM
Jacob Fischler

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee sparred Thursday over environmental requirements and funding in the president’s infrastructure proposal, jousting over the contents of a plan that top Senate Republicans indicated this week isn’t likely to pass this year.

Chao repeatedly defended the plan from charges by committee Democrats that it would strip environmental protections, saying the administration only wanted to improve the process without sacrificing environmental quality. The administration wants to eliminate duplication and allow relevant agencies to conduct environmental reviews simultaneously rather than sequentially, she said.

“We have no intent of diluting any environmental protection,” Chao said. “But if you look at the bureaucratic way in which permitting occurs, a lot of it doesn’t make sense. They’re redundant, they’re duplicative, they replicate one another, they discourage communications among sister agencies. There are many, many ways in which the permitting process can be improved without sacrificing environmental quality.” FULL ARTICLE

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