The Senate Commerce Committee held a confirmation hearing this week for President-elect Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao. Ms. Chao – who previously served as the Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush and the Deputy Secretary of Transportation in President George H.W. Bush’s Administration – is expected to help shape an infrastructure plan that has been promised by President-elect Trump. Her confirmation to the position is all but guaranteed and is likely to occur soon after Trump takes office on January 20.
Secretary Chao offered no specifics of what a Trump infrastructure plan would include but she did acknowledge that the challenges with any plan lie in how it is paid for. During the hearing she expressed the belief that both direct federal spending and private financing will be a part of the incoming administration’s proposal. She went on the say that seeing a fix for the Highway Trust Fund – which will again be facing insolvency in 2020 – will be a “top priority” for the Department. Additionally, Chao said one of her first orders of business will be to create an infrastructure task force.
Although the hearing was short on specifics, Secretary Chao made it clear she plans on working closely with Congress as the Secretary of Transportation. AGC supports Secretary Chao’s nomination and looks forward to working with her to promote a pro-construction agenda at the Department of Transportation.