Confirmation hearing: Elaine Chao's plans to modernize infrastructure

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Jan. 11, 2017 at 10:39 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Elaine Chao, Donald Trump's pick to serve as the next secretary of transportation, said she hopes to improve the lives of Americans by modernizing infrastructure.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing was scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. in Washington, D.C. Trump tapped her to help oversee his plan to improve the United States' infrastructure.

"My executive career in government began at the U.S. Department of Transportation. During my career, I have had the privilege of leading large, complex organizations in the public and non-profit sectors," Chao wrote in prepared remarks ahead of the hearing. "In each of these positions, my goal has been to help others access opportunity and build better lives for themselves and their families by supporting policies that foster job creation and workforce competitiveness."

Trump has proposed spending $1 trillion to upgrade roads, ports, bridges, public transportation and other transit systems.

"The Department of Transportation has a key role to play in modernizing our transportation systems, strengthening our country's competitiveness, and improving our quality of life," Chao wrote. "I look forward to working with you to rebuild, refurbish and revitalize America's infrastructure, so our economy can continue to grow, create good paying jobs for America's working families and enhance our quality of life."

Chao, 63, is the only Trump appointee who has previously worked at the Cabinet level, serving as labor secretary during former President George W. Bush's administration -- making her the first Asian-American woman to serve in a Cabinet position. She also served during former President George H.W. Bush's administration as deputy treasury secretary from 1989 to 1991.

Chao, who was born in Taiwan, moved to the United States at age 8 and became a U.S. citizen at age 19. She is married to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said he would not recuse himself from a vote on her confirmation.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is streaming the hearing.

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