Elaine Chao on Technology

Secretary of Labor (Pres. Bush Cabinet)


Specialized in transportation financing in private sector

Secretary Chao comes to the U.S. Department of Transportation with extensive experience in the transportation sector. Early in her career, she specialized in transportation financing in the private sector. She began her executive career in public service working on transportation and trade issues at the White House. She then served as Deputy Maritime Administrator, U. S. Department of Transportation; Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission; and, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Secretary Chao understands the critical role of the Department in ensuring the safety of our country's transportation systems. She is also keenly aware of the key role infrastructure plays in our nation's economic competitiveness, and in strengthening economic growth in both the urban and rural areas of our country.

Source: DOT official website for Trump Cabinet biographies , Oct 5, 2018

Make self-driving cars a reality, and quickly

The Trump administration wants to make self-driving cars a reality, and quickly. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao made a push for the driverless vehicles. "We're being petitioned now by equipment manufacturers and tech companies to redesign the way cars look," she said. "The cars of the near future won't have driver side rearview window; they will look like living rooms."

Chao explained that while the DOT is tasked with addressing "legitimate customer concerns of safety, security and privacy," its ultimate task is to "make sure we're not hampering this innovation." Her department will roll out new voluntary guidelines for autonomous vehicles in an effort to increase flexibility around limitations on new technologies and to encourage the quick rollout of driverless cars.

The vast majority of car accidents occur due to human error, Chao said, and automated technology in the car can make driving safer while "giving back freedom to the disabled and enabling the elderly to lead a full life."

Source: Newsweek's Nicole Goodkind on 2018 Trump Administration , Sep 24, 2018

NY-NJ Tunnel means less funding for other projects

Opposition to the Gateway project [a $30 billion connector between New York and New Jersey] has lingered elsewhere in the administration. And according to a Democratic congressional aide, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has told lawmakers that funding the Gateway project means less money will be available to fund smaller projects in their districts.

The House included $900 million in potential funding for Gateway in a spending bill that it passed in September. But an amendment backed by 155 Republicans and four Democrats attempted to strip the funding from the bill. The legislation has not been taken up in the Senate.

"North Carolina and the other 48 states should not have to foot the bill for this hall of fame earmark," said Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), who offered the amendment.

Source: Washington Post, "NY-NJ Tunnel" on 2018 Trump Administration , Mar 2, 2018

Slow permitting process blocking private sector investments

The Trump administration's proposal aims to spend $200 billion in federal funding to spur a total of $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment, with states, localities and private industry covering the difference. "While there is a great deal of enthusiasm from the private sector to participate, one of the hurdles they face is the lack of ready projects," Chao said. "If the permitting process can be sped up, it will allow more projects to be available for the private sector to invest."
Source: Washington Examiner on 2018 Trump Cabinet , Mar 1, 2018

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