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Elaine Chao was confirmed and sworn in yesterday as the 18th secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.Chao has a lengthy career in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. She served as the 24th U.S. secretary of labor from 2001 to 2009 in the George W. Bush administration, and was deputy transportation secretary in the George H.W. Bush administration.Several transportation associations provided written statements on Chao's appointment. Following is a sampling of those comments. "The rail industry is ... encouraged with statements by Secretary Chao in which she has indicated regulations should be focused and based on data, something the AAR supports, as America's freight-rail industry believes new rules should be empirically driven, supported by cost-benefit analysis and geared towards today's innovation economy." — Association of American Railroads President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger"In her confirmation testimony, Secretary Chao said she believes the Trump administration will support more federal funding for infrastructure as well as private financing. AASHTO agrees that a balanced approach to transportation investment will be required to fully support America's transportation system into the future." — The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials "We are encouraged that the Trump administration is considering including public transportation funding as part of this new infrastructure package. Also, we are pleased that Secretary Chao said that securing sustainable funding for the Highway Trust Fund is a top priority for the Trump administration." — American Public Transportation Association Acting President and CEO Richard White"During her confirmation hearing, Ms. Chao underscored the need to evaluate regulations on the basis of sound science to ensure that only the best are put forward, a position that ASLRRA strongly supports." — American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association President Linda Bauer Darr"On behalf of our members, which supply freight and passenger railroads and transit agencies with cutting-edge equipment and technology, we look forward to working with [Chao] on improving the nation's infrastructure, encouraging sensible rail safety and economic regulation, and championing manufacturing innovation." — Railway Supply Institute President Thomas Simpson"I am confident that under her leadership, the future of our roads, rails, runways and transit systems will be in good hands. Secretary Chao has a strong understanding of Washington and how to engage the private sector, as well as the importance of consulting with mayors and governors." — Ray LaHood, former U.S. transportation secretary and co-chair of Building America's Future
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