Great uncertainty is always top of mind when a new administration takes the helm. Folks wait with baited breath for the campaign talk to materialize into reality. The discussion that is paramount to us in the transportation industry is of course infrastructure. These discussed improvements are not just significant to our economy, but imperative for the safety of all Americans.
While each new administration expects the voices of skepticism when selecting their cabinet, they sometimes are fortunate to receive praise from both sides. President Trump’s selection of Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation seems to be one of the decisions that has been greeted with just that, praise across all platforms. Many agree that her prior experience within the Bush administration and other areas within the federal government prove her to be a highly qualified and ideal candidate for this position. Her distinguished service to this nation has demonstrated her bi-partisan respect and her ability to serve this nation well in an unbiased manner.
Industry experts have been quick to express their approval of Chao. American Trucking Association President, Chris Spear, stated,” We are eager to support her as our country and our industry work to improve our roads and bridges, improve safety and harness the potential that emerging technologies have to continue to move our country forward.” Additionally, Jim Miel, a research analyst for the trucking industry, said, “Her prior experience means she is well-versed on critical issues for the trucking industry such as infrastructure, safety, the environment and labor.”
While very little has been released on how she intends to lead the Department of Transportation, American seems to be hopeful that the trillions of dollars’ worth of work that need to be completed will be done and handled well under the leadership of Chao.
Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan seems effective in theory, but critics and supporters alike want to know how is it to be funded? Chao has mentioned, “The President’s proposal is ambitious and futuristic, and they are starting a taskforce to address these issues.” She continues, “there are many financing options that should be considered but we must be creative because the federal government does not have the resources to fully fund all the infrastructure that is needed.” While exact sourcing of the funds has not been fully disclosed, some inside sources are predicting that tolls or higher fuel taxes could be one avenue for revenue. The industry should be prepared for both. Also, American businesses that have taken jobs overseas can expect to see additional taxes that could well be allocated to this ambitious much needed plan.
Expected to deliver a strong performance, the industry anxiously awaits the next moves of Chao. With much needing to be improved and all fiscal resources unknown, the industry is hopeful that the distinguished record of Chao’s will lead the industry to great success, improved conditions and, most importantly, safety.