Elaine Chao has been confirmed as the new Secretary of Transportation by the US Senate.
According to US journalist David Cullen of Heavy Duty Trucking, Secretary Chao has stated that one of her top priorities will be cooperating with Congress to enact the trillion-dollar infrastructure investment plan that has been floated by President Donald Trump since right after the election.
Speaking at her Senate confirmation hearing earlier in January, Chao – a former assistant secretary of Transportation and Labor secretary – also emphasised the “significant difference between traditional program funding and other innovative financing tools, such as public-private partnerships.”
She said getting private capital flowing into infrastructure projects will require “incentivizing” equity firms, pension funds, and endowments to invest in “a bold new vision” for building highways and other infrastructure.
Kevin Burch, President of Jet Express and Chairman of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), said he was “excited to begin working with Secretary Chao, and eager to join with her in pushing to improve the safety and efficiency of our nation's highways.”
ATA President and CEO, Chris Spear, added: “Secretary Chao has a long and distinguished track record, from her time as Secretary of Labor where I got to know her best and her service as Deputy Transportation Secretary as well as with the United Way and Peace Corps.
“Wherever she has gone, Secretary Chao has demonstrated the kind of leadership and vision we need to address our nation's pressing transportation issues and we look forward to quickly getting to work with her.”
The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS) also congratulated Chao on the new role, saying it stood “ready to work with [her] to accelerate the widespread deployment of intelligent, transformational transportation systems”.