Elaine Chao, President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Transportation, said the Trump Administration would leverage private investment along with direct federal spending to address the nation’s infrastructure needs.
During a confirmation hearing Jan. 11, Chao, who served as the Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush, said the federal government does not have the resources to address all the infrastructure needs within the country.
There is a “significant difference between traditional program funding and other innovative financing tools, such as public-private partnerships,” Chao said, “the way we build and deliver projects is as important as how much we invest.”
During his campaign, President-Elect Trump spoke at a high level about his plan for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending saying it would focus on tax credits and private sector financing – a funding strategy that could lead to inefficient and counter-productive revenue schemes such as tolling and rest area commercialization.
Democrats expressed concern that the President-Elect’s plan would rely too heavily on private investment. Some Republicans representing rural states, including Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, also expressed apprehension that private investors would ignore poor or rural areas as they seek the highest possible return on their investment.
Secretary of Transportation nominee Chao said that she planned to create an infrastructure task force and aimed to get details of an infrastructure proposal to the committee within 30 days of Donald Trump taking office.
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