- President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Elaine Chao as the next secretary of transportation, according to The New York Times.
- Chao previously served as secretary of labor between 2001 and 2009 under President George W. Bush's administration. She is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
- Chao has prior experience in the Department of Transportation, as she served as the deputy secretary of transportation for President George H.W. Bush between 1989 and 1991. Her selection must be confirmed by the Senate.
Trump's choice to head the DOT will likely have a crucial role in one of his key campaign proposals — a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. With his experience in the construction industry, Trump has promised to bring his building expertise to the nation's roads, bridges and transit systems.
Trump's team revealed the massive plan in October, which would be largely funded through private investment. The proposal has been light on details so far, as the only solid information released is the fact that it will offer the private sector an 82% credit on equity investment and that it will focus on fee-based projects like airports or utilities. Although industry experts have questioned the funding sources and feasibility of his proposal, construction and engineering stocks soared in the week after Trump's win.
Chao has a difficult task ahead of her, as a long-term solution for necessary infrastructure spending has largely eluded lawmakers at all levels of government. While the concept is popular in both parties, the source of funding and method of implementing the infrastructure fixes continue to be contentious issues.