Ahead of inauguration later this month, the U.S. Congress will be examining President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees. Elaine Chao's examination as nominee for the position of Secretary of Transportation is set for Jan. 11. The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will convene Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.
Chao’s nomination questionnaire is available online and spans 12 pages plus additional attachments. “What do you believe to be the top three challenges facing the department/agency and why?” asks one question.
“A top priority for [the Transportation Dept.] is to maintain a culture of good stewardship on behalf of the American people. This means effective enforcement of safety measures; getting the most benefit from the Department's expenditures including strengthening its planning and acquisition practices; and preparing for the future by considering new technologies in our infrastructure,” Chao answered.
“Second, given the nation’s need to improve critical infrastructure, it is important to find ways to expedite the process of making repairs and building new constructions and decreasing the regulatory burdens when appropriate. With or without a new infusion of funds, it is necessary to look at the existing processes for infrastructure development and find more efficient ways to address bottlenecks in planning and permitting."
“Third,” she continued, “with so many needs everywhere in the country, a big challenge will be to strive for equity between urban and rural areas, among different modes of transportation, and other competing but equally deserving stakeholders.”
Chao is an advocate of privatization and reduced government regulation. Her nomination comes at a time when Congress is enmeshed in a debate over the pros and cons of privatizing the FAA’s Air Traffic Org. This could be a main focus of the Transportation Dept. in the new administration.