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Question of the Week: Do you support bold proposals like the 414 Plan to cut through the red tape and speed up construction projects?
Posted by Randy | January 27, 2012

This week, the President delivered the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress and the American people.  In a wide-ranging speech that touched on a variety of national concerns from economic recovery, to changing energy policy and addressing the ongoing housing crisis, the President offered his Administration's 'blueprint' for the next year without providing many details.  One goal articulated by the President was his desire to "clear away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects" through an executive order.  While specifics of the President's proposal remain unclear, I have offered a bold proposal, the 414 Plan, that does just that--clears away the red tape, puts Americans back to work, cuts costs, and accelerates necessary construction and improvements to our nation's roads and bridges. 

The 414 Plan

GOAL: Seeks to build roads and bridges in 414 days, rather than 13 years.

INSPIRATION: Rebuilding of the collapsed Minnesota Bridge that took only 414 days.

KEY PROVISIONS:

  • Halts the red tape regulation stifling road and bridge projects
  • Protects any regulations pertaining to safety or durability
  • Jumpstarts efficiency in road and bridge projects, building jobs and improving infrastructure
  • Moratorium in place for only 5 years to give opportunity to revisit and reevaluate

Question of the Week:
Do you support bold proposals like the 414 Plan to cut through the red tape and speed up construction projects?

(  )  Yes, I support bold proposals like the 414 Plan to cut through the red tape.
(  )  No, I do not support proposals like the 414 Plan that cut back on regulations.
(  )  Other (leave your comments below)
(  )  I am unsure.

Learn more about the 414 Plan here.

Read my statement in response to the State of the Union address here.

Take the poll here.

Find the results of last week's instaPoll here.
Comments
Users are solely responsible for the opinions they post here and their comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Congressman Forbes.
  • Thomas G commented on 1/27/2012
    No, I would prefer you pursue the initiatives outlined by the president as do over 80 percent of the public congressman Forbes. It has already been over 140 days and you have done nothing to pressure your own party to vote on last years JOBS ACT which also was supported by nearly 70% of the public. Look Mr. Forbes, you would be well served to choose to cooperate with the will of the people instead of your rigid commitment to gridlock in threats to shut down the government 3 times last year, attempting to shove the country into default and refusing to even bother showing up to vote for the middle class tax cut extension. The legislation you are dragging out yet again after months of inaction contains bothersome language regarding worker rights and compensation. You got an earful on that sir on this blog, when are you going to begin listening to the constituents here. Why have you abandoned the middle class and why are you trying to hide behind this proposal when you have done nothing over the past year to advance the concerns of the public. We need action sir, come on, over 140 days to get a vote in the House on jobs? In the words of speaker Gingrich, Do you think we're stupid?
  • Todd Varvel commented on 1/28/2012
    I share Randy's goal to for the 414 plan. I am concerned that Thomas thinks 80% of the public supports the presidents initiatives or the 70% support his Jobs Act. I would believe that 70% support action to stimulate the economy but not even close to that believe Obama's plan is the correct course of action. Back to 414, I support it if there is nothing in it that requires Union participation. I would actually pilot the program in right to work states. I think the point that Thomas is missing is that Mr. Forbes isn't being an obstructionist for its own sake. He like the majority of America believe that the Presidents initiatives are destructive. So the strategy of blocking them is the best we can do. Remember, Thomas when throwing out statistics it matters how the question was asked. Also remember that the majority america considers themselves centrist to conservative. Only about 20% would classify themselves as liberal or "progressive". We have today what is quite possibly the most liberal President in our history.
  • Conrad F commented on 1/28/2012
    The bridge that was built in Minnesota in 414 days clearly demonstrates what private industry can do when government gets out of the way. In contrast, it took the government Army Corps of Engineers 8 years, repeat 8 YEARS plus $3,200,000.00 just to STUDY the Virginia Beach Lynnhaven Riverr plan. What a disgracefull & inefficient agency. While you are at it Randy, include proposals to get rid of at least 75% of the EPA, the primary government obstructionist to common sense. .
  • Robert Z commented on 1/28/2012
    Randy, until the Davis Bacon Act is repealed, the Obama Jobs program should be retitled the Union Jobs Program as the Davis Bacon requires all new, improved, renovations using any portion of Federal money must use union grade labor. This excludes over 80% of the labor force and over 90% of businesses. Also drives the cost and times to complete projects beyond reason. 414 is great but as long as Davis Bacon exists, it will be held hostage by this act implemented to keep blacks and non-union workers out of unionized states. Right to work must be supported by the administration and Congress if the creativity, industry and resources of this nation are to be freed.
  • Conrad Faust commented on 1/28/2012
    Congressman Forbes in fact has listened to the majority of his constituents, Thomas G. In a few days look at the results of this poll. I forcast that over 70% of the respondents agree with the congressman. You are the one that is out of step and want to advance views that will accomplish nothing but to further contribute to the economic decline of this once great nation. .
  • Bill Outlaw commented on 1/28/2012
    Where in the Constitution is there anything about the Federal Government being involved in the construction and maintenance of roads or bridges. Get the Federal Government out of everything not specified in the Constitution and let the 50 States do their jobs. Oh, and cut out the Federal taxes associated with all the Unconstitutional things the Federal Government is involved in.
  • Charles Gustafson commented on 1/28/2012
    Representative Forbes, may we ask you a question? Can you imagine all the money wasted by fraud, out right stealing of American funds, incompetence of sole souce contractors, that has been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan over the past ten years to rebuild INFRASTRUCTURE there instead of building bridges, reconstructing the crumbling highways of the UNITED STATES, the crumbling electric grid? Guess who voted for all that wasted money? That would be you sir. Stop be one of the obfuscators, start representing your constituents, instead of marching in lock step with your Tea Party know nothings.rshint obtained. Remember, there is an election in November 2012.
  • Gerry Nelson commented on 1/28/2012
    This 8 line summary of the bill probably does not even give us a vague idea of what the final bill could possibly dictate. (The devil is in the details). How do we propose to pay for these improvements? Borrow more from China? We already have a nearly 16 TRILLION debt. The Republican controlled House showed its disdain this week for voters and debt reduction by overwhelmingly (338 to 70) voting to spend $400,000 to study establishing a new trail from Los Banos and Madera in CA to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks to honor the Buffalo Soldiers. The Park Service already has a $10 Billion deferred maintenance backlog, and is already undertaking more than three dozen other studies of potential additions to the park system. We do not have a tax problem, folks, we have a SPENDING problem. Congress needs to quit funding new projects and start cutting the ones we now have. Get REAL, congress - we are BROKE!
  • Leonard Antonik commented on 1/28/2012
    Dear Representative Forbes, Why is it that you always want to have Your, only your plan and nothing but your plan inacted by the government. Let us get a start, not another year of debates. I trusted you with hepling the veterans and you tossed my fellow veterans and me under the bus. We are still waiting for your promise to assist us from 6 years ago. Patience is thin, pain is great and I believe I will see death before I see help from you. Why don't you get the congressional representatives who have gained by insider trading and siphon that money to the retired and disabled as you promised more than six years ago.
  • Gerald Brown commented on 1/28/2012
    I agree with removing a lot of the red tape that holds up *everything* we do nowadays. But why temporary? That just encourages lobbying and game-playing later on. Repeal it. Have the true courage of conservative convictions and actually remove it. @Jim Lynch: We've been waiting for a new bridge for going on (I think) two decades now. We *have* the money, *and* the preliminary design has been done. The problem? It's much too far down the Corps of Engineers' priority list, and it will take more years (once it rises high enough) to do all the studies and such that will do nothing but end up filling a filing cabinet somewhere, eventually. If *we* had the right to actually do something, we could probably solve our traffic issue within 3 years - but *we*, the citizens who actually live here aren't allowed to. It's a disgrace that our government treats us this way.
  • Ernest Keppel commented on 1/28/2012
    I support the idea of rebuilding our infrastructure, but lets hold the builders who win the bid accountable this time for the work. Why is Rt 288 already falling apart? EMK.
  • Joe Kaiser commented on 1/28/2012
    Yes, Congressman Forbes. Your idea gives more accountability to the process, especially because "pork barrel" politics should not be the norm.
  • Larry Collins commented on 1/29/2012
    The systemic problem with our roads and bridges is government. Why do serious problems get relegated to phrases? The 414 Plan to me is a silly little title. It does not bespeak to the core problem...........the President and Congress. The Federal Government does a poor job of long term planning. Highways and bridges require a long term plan for repair and replacement with phased maintenance requirements. You (Congress) that are charged with handling the people's money have put our country into a crisis of unheard of depth. As in the case of highways and bridges, government caused the problem. Government is not now nor should it ever be seen as a 'jobs creator'. Congress creates more problems for the American People. The Federal Government caused the financial crisis we are experiencing. And the politicians who signed the 'pledge' not to raise taxes, all of you are only fooling yourselves. The 414 Plan will just add to the debt. The plan will never get through the hoops that you in Congress have created over the years. Government puts panels of experts together who focus on major issues and their reports are never implemented. Why, because the panels provide a solution which would be results orientated rather than 'sound bytes or silly phrase', carping and whining that Congress does. So, The 414 Plan does nothing, means nothing and will produce nothing. Randy, go back to work and do something important. Get focused on your district and state. You hired to represent Virginia and its people.
  • Carroll Marshall commented on 1/29/2012
    I think Congress and the President need to work together instead of fingerpointing, let's get America back on track, I believe the interest of big Buisness controls what happens in Washington, most Americans believe what they think doesn't really matter.
  • Jason W. commented on 1/29/2012
    Why is this congress so intent on focusing on the wrong issues and bringing the president down. If you were to begin to fix some of the true problems occuring in this country, putting a republican in office would happeen automatically. I agree 100% with Thomas G's comments. Thank you for making this blog available to us.
  • George Mears commented on 1/29/2012
    Do you support bold proposals like the 414 Plan to cut through the red tape and speed up construction projects?* Randy, the question is clear but the options simply aren't realistic. Do all the regulatory hurdles drag out the process excessively while driving up the cost of any project that involves the use of Federal funds? Yes. So is the answer yet another big government edict that directs that any bridge --and lets just say the bridge from the northern NC mainland to Corolla on the Outer Banks--must be built within 414 days? What nonsense! Once again your Instapolls identify real issues but offer nothing but simplistic or nonsensical options to a constituency you appear to believe is incapable of tinking beyond the 3rd grade level. Not Good. Some suggestions: 1. Reel in the EPA by slashing it's budget and prioritizing their agends by tailoring their budget to acheive what Congress originally intended this agency to do. As you are aware, the agency would much rather waste time and budget pursuing politically driven goals on Mann-made (spelling intentional!) global warming by cherry picking data and using biased and inaccurate government papers on a declining polar bear population to put polar bears on the endangered species list and use the fact that the Arctic is the bear's habitat to drive punative regulatory rules on energy production, automobiles, and virtually any industrial development that could impact climate which--the main objective of all the biased study and publishing--happens to impact the polar bear's habitat. Note: the inconvenient fact remains that the polar bear population has doubled from 1955 to 2010 (from approximately 25,000 to 50,000 according to the best known Canadian polar bear expert) and of the 7 identified subpopulations, 2 are stressed, 3 are thriving, and 2 are stable. And, as was just recently reported by the same Hadley CRU from which all the AGW-zealot conspiracy emails were hacked into two years ago, the world's temperature stopped rising (again, since this is cyclical and always has been) in 1997 so there has been no global warming over the past 14 years! So if the EPA had no authority or funding to spend on such ventures, perhaps their extracurricular activities could be constrained--and EPA could return to ensuring clean air, water, and pursuing midnight dumping and cleaning up toxic waste dumps. Not sexy and fails to pursue the agency's leftist economic and social agenda, but certainly more cost effective and beneficial to the overall population! 2. Get Congress to look into the abuse of NEPA by anti-development and industry radical groups (WWF, Siera Club, Walden grups, Fish & Wildlife, and EPA (yes! Our own Department of Interior and other Federal agencies), who raise one unfounded, unsubstantiated, exaggerated, and/or false claim after another to postpone decisions or run developers, industries, and local governments out of money to move forward on whatever they intended to do. Create an independent board of regulatory review manned by acknowledged experts from industry, academia, and--if you can still find any--government, to consider the obstacles being raised by these NGO's and Stakeholder groups before allowing them to go forward. Where a ruling of frivolous is determined, send the bill for any additional funds spent by the industry, developer, or municipality on trying to investigate and defend against such bogus arguments to the respective NGO's or groups. And establish limits for such frivolous claim findings to something like 3, after which the offending group is barred from raising any claims using the NEPA process for at least 5 years. Right now you have hundreds of such groups employing tens of thousands of activists and lawyers just looking for ways to bog down the the process for the sole reason of running project supporters out of time and money before a project gains regulatory approval on permits and EIS studies needed before construction can start. So it the problem of regulatory red-tabe real? Yes. But the problem is mainly abuses by government agencies and often government funded NGOs. The federal regs are written so loosly, and the Federal and State regulatory agencies are so poorly supervised and controlled, that the most promising solutions involve cracking down on such abuses, tort reform, and Loser Pays reforms to make such behavior costly and unproductive. Thinking that any politician, no matter how well intended, could look into a crystal ball and mandate that any engineering project should go from concept to public use use in 414 days only proves how little Congress understands the realities of the civil engineering field or site-specific construction.
  • Thomas G commented on 1/30/2012
    One thing is clear here and that is congressman Forbes that the public as a whole has lost confidence in your ability to actually deliver anything. We've seen you make a case for regulatory reform citing statistics over 10 years old and then doing nothing when the facts are that president Obama has already done more than you have in 12 years in congress. The people are screaming at you sir to get things done and to jetison your tea party rigid obstructionism and relentless spin that is so obviously absent of facts it has become embarassing. Whether it is regulations, tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, the evironment, Keystone, Iraq or the social safety net, your adovocay represents positions that have either harmed our nation already or certainly imply that great harm will result. Your tenure in congress has not been noteworthy at all. You have advocated legislation that tramples on the constitution and you sir, are on the judiciary committee! Your votes have helped to create over 7.5 TRILLION dollars in debt, you spend spend spend with no plan to pay for the things you vote for, and then you shamefully mislead the public about it. Time after time sir dozens of your constituents challenge the language of your weekly polls and convey to you the disgust that a whopping 91% of the public feels in their opinion of the congress. Thousands are in the street sir and I see no evidence whatsoever that you listen to anybody. Over 140 days and you've accomplished nothing on the president's JOBS ACT. Do not think for one minute that your constituents are watching your back when you certainly are not watching ours. Refusing to even show up to vote for the middle class tax cut is a blatant display of lack of support. Economic history is NOT on your side sir, and you know it and yet you have no other plan than to try and spin your inaction to hide behind your own record. What the voters want is on television every single day...we want you to cooperate and move the nation forward. You do NOT do that by voting to shove your country into default, and that irresponsible act you OWN.
  • Thomas G commented on 1/30/2012
    To Conrad - Economic Decline? You cannot be serious sir given the state of the economy at the end of the Bush administration. Mr. Forbes arrived in the congress when the catastrophe began and it has been a catastrophe. You need to reexamine the record Conrad because what you just proclaimed is far from the reality. Whether it is debt to the tune of 7.5 TRILLION, billions in spending with no plan to pay for it, the disaster of Iraq, the failure to get bin Laden, the failure to protect our country, the erosion of civil liberties, the failure of Katrina, the failure to control borders, irresponsible tax cuts that blew up the budget, Wall Street abuses, torture, grand jury investigations, voter suppression in the states and beyond. The reality sir is so astonishingly damaging that it may take decades to fix. We have watched as America's reputation in the world suffered in the last administration, to include the North Koreans actually exploding an atomic bomb. In 12 years in the congress Mr. Forbes has succeeded in passing only 1 bill, and 56 he sponsored never made it out of committee. The congressman opposed actions to reel in speculators and we got 4 dollar gas, millions of foreclosures, loss of retirement nest eggs, millions of lost manufacturing jobs and thousands of lost lives in a foolish unjust war in Iraq. Our congressman was right in the middle of all the obstruction and the policy that harmed our country. What the voters want sir is cooperation to restore the nation, not to sustain any more of the widely discredited policy that tore us apart.
  • Glenn Fox commented on 1/30/2012
    The Hon. Mr J Randy Forbes- While the 414 plan sounds good, as others have said, the devil's in the details. I would want to know what sorts of regulations would be bypassed before supporting such an idea. A LACK of regulation costs jobs, and can cost lives. In China, the environmental laws are not enforced, and it took them months of shutting down factories and not allowing cars on the roads to get the air quality to a level that wouldn't injure the Olympic athletes! That is certainly not the model I want us to follow! It seems to me that one way to speed up the process would be to provide enough funding to hire the inspectors and such who are needed to certify projects in a timely manner. If there are enough folks to do the work, then the work will proceed more quickly. Regards, Glenn Fox
  • John Newell commented on 2/1/2012
    When you say "he thinks a blank check is the answer..." I'm assuming you mean our current President. Take a look at this video on YouTube from then Senator Obama's campaign when he went on a tyrade about our rising debt and accused then President Bush of being, "unpatriotic," for raising our national debt. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyLmru6no4U It goes without saying our current President has raised our debt level significantly higher than any previous President. I hope this video goes viral, it speaks volumes about our current President.
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