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Wednesday, 11 January 2017 16:52

Chao says private investors can boost transportation

Written by  CBS News

WASHINGTON -- The incoming Trump administration is looking to “unleash the potential” of private investors to boost the national transportation networks that underpin the U.S. economy, Transportation Secretary-designate Elaine Chao told lawmakers Wednesday.

Economic gains are being “jeopardized” by aging infrastructure, rising highway fatalities, growing congestion and a failure to keep pace with emerging technologies, Chao testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Chao, 63, is expected to be easily confirmed by the Senate. She was labor secretary during George W. Bush’s administration and deputy transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush. Her husband is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.

When McConnell introduced Chao at the hearing, he stole a line from former Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole: “I regret I have only one wife to give for my country.” Dole’s wife, Elizabeth, is a former transportation and labor secretary.

Chao joked, “I will be working to lock in the majority leader’s support tonight over dinner.”

But she hasn’t been immune from criticism. Unions say that as labor secretary, she mostly sided with industry when enforcing labor and safety rules.

Chao advocated using “innovative financing tools” that can “take full advantage of the estimated trillions in capital that equity firms, pension funds and endowments can invest.

Read more at CBS News

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