None of this ever seems to be borne in mind by politicians seeking to use infrastructure spending as a quick jolt to the economy. Infrastructure projects are, by their nature, long-term economic plays. That's one reason they take a long time not only to build but to plan. Red tape adds to the time-frame, and should be reduced whenever possible, but doing so won't put a vast number of shovels into the ground tomorrow. Nor should it, if we're really trying to reap the biggest long-term bang for our buck.
But politicians don't operate on such long time frames, because the next election is invariably closer than the completion date of the projects they want to fund -- and claim the credit for when they run in those elections. It seems Trump is no exception.
(Then again, one wonders if Trump is truly committed to the quick-start requirement, given that, according to the Journal, he went on to name high-speed rail and "the Hyperloop, a project envisioned by Tesla founder Elon Musk that would rapidly transport passengers in pods through low-pressure tubes" as items that pique his interest.)
Election-induced haste is a big reason too much infrastructure spending turns out to be wasteful and inefficient. A smarter approach to infrastructure spending would be to set a longer process for selection, the better to make sure our money goes to the projects with the greatest ROI. Even if that might not yield results by November 2018, or 2020.