ORLANDO. No one should expect action on President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure proposal until after Congress completes work on tax reform.
That was the message delivered by Elaine Chao, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), during a speech at the 2017 American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition.
Tax reform “is the focus of the Congress and the administration right now,” she said.
Chao said the general plan includes $200 billion in federal funding, with the rest made up of private investment and other methods.
Chao said 16 federal agencies were involved in crafting the proposal, and that she had met numerous times with trucking industry officials.
“Your voices are being heard,” she told MC&E attendees.
She also said DOT was continuing to look at regulatory reforms that could help speed up construction projects and create more jobs.
Chao said she is working with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on addressing the shortage of truck drivers. That could include further outreach to veterans, as well as to “underserved communities and women, she said.
Chao also shared her recent experiences seeing the damage from hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
She said the “devastation was heartbreaking,” but the “outpouring of support was truly inspiring.”
Especially in Puerto Rico, warehouses were filled with relief supplies, but have been delayed to destroyed infrastructure.