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Trump Taps Chao for Transportation Secretary


President-elect Donald Trump nominated former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to head the Transportation Department. Chao is a former U.S. deputy transportation secretary who currently sits on the board of Vulcan Materials Co. Chao, the wife of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, served as labor secretary under President George W. Bush and was the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet position. 

Chao will face a number of big decisions at the agency that overseas the nation's vehicles, airplanes, railroads, pipelines, ports and highways – including how to proceed on the use of self-driving cars on U.S. roads, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, and whether U.S. fuel efficiency standards should be revised.

She may also take a leading role in Trump's plans to rebuild U.S. infrastructure. Trump has called for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending over 10 years to rebuild airports, bridges and other projects, but it is unclear how much of the funding would come from the federal budget.

“NSSGA has enjoyed a solid working relationship with Secretary Chao going back to when she was deputy secretary at DOT as well as during her time leading the Department of Labor, which has MSHA under its purview,” National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association President and CEO Michael W. Johnson stated. “We congratulate her on being nominated to lead the Transportation Department and look forward to working with her to implement president-elect Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan.”

"President-elect Trump has made a very good choice in selecting an experienced and proven leader to serve in this key cabinet post," said American Road & Transportation Builders Association President and CEO Pete Ruane. “As a former deputy secretary of transportation and secretary of labor in the respective Bush Administrations, there will be little learning curve for Elaine Chao. She is already well-versed on federal transportation policy, regulatory and safety matters. We look forward to her playing a critical leadership role in fulfilling President-elect Trump’s campaign pledge to make major new strategic investments in America’s transportation infrastructure network.”