Industry groups congratulate Elaine Chao on confirmation as Transportation Secretary

Feb. 1, 2017
Trucking industry reacts to confirmation of Elaine Chao as transportation secretary

Industry groups congratulated Elaine Chao on her Senate confirmation January 31 as the 18th Secretary of Transportation.

ATA President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Spear said: “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.”

ATA Chairman Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express Inc, added: “The trucking industry is 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.”

Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said: "We congratulate Elaine Chao on her confirmation as US Transportation Secretary and stand ready to work with DOT to continue efforts to rebuild and modernize America’s aging transportation infrastructure.

“In her confirmation testimony, Secretary Chao said she believes the Trump Administration will support more federal funding for infrastructure as well as private financing. AASHTO agrees that a balanced approach to transportation investment will be required to fully support America’s transportation system into the future.”

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) emphasized that it stands ready to work with Secretary Chao and her department to accelerate the widespread deployment of intelligent, transformational transportation systems.

“Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a whirlwind period of innovation in transportation—driven by swift advances in cloud computing, automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. This, in turn, is changing the fundamental makeup of entire industries,” said Regina Hopper, ITS America president and chief executive officer. “Our members would like to work closely with (Secretary Chao) to build a transportation infrastructure that is the technological envy of the world—a national system that drives economic growth, enhances global competitiveness, advances safety, and improves mobility.”

Hopper stressed that the diverse membership of ITS America—spanning private companies, researchers, academics and public agencies—provides a unique resource for the Administration and shared the organization’s public policy roadmap developed in consultation with its members that will be officially released in early February. The roadmap emphasizes support for new and long-term funding and financing for tech-driven transportation infrastructure; solvency of the Highway Trust Fund; and increased investments in vehicle-to-infrastructure mobility and safety applications.

ITS America also expressed appreciation for the perspective Secretary Chao offered in her confirmation hearings, where she acknowledged that the private sector is driving innovation in transportation, and it is important to “position the federal government as a catalyst for safe, efficient technologies, not as an impediment.”