Senate confirms Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation

Updated Feb 7, 2017

The Senate has confirmed Elaine Chao as the next Secretary of Transportation in a 93-6 vote Jan. 31. She was sworn in the same day.


Chao’s husband Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), voted “present.” Voting against Chao were Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Kristen Gillibrand (D-New York), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Elizabeth Warrant (D-Massachusetts).

According to a report by The Hill, Chao has been through the confirmation process four times before this without a dissenting vote on the Senate floor. She previously served as Labor Secretary under George W. Bush and as Deputy Transportation Secretary under George H.W. Bush.

“It is an honor to rejoin the extraordinary people of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and begin working with them to rebuild, refurbish and revitalize America’s infrastructure,” Chao says. “My goal has always 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. At this crucial time, the Department of Transportation can make a tremendous difference for our country.”

During her nomination hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Chao emphasized the need for sustained funding for transportation projects, with the potential for using public-private partnerships as an ingredient in a mix of financial methodologies.

“We congratulate Elaine Chao on her confirmation as U.S. Transportation Secretary and stand ready to work with USDOT to continue efforts to rebuild and modernize America’s aging transportation infrastructure,” says American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Executive Director Bud Wright. “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.”

“I congratulate Elaine Chao on her confirmation as the next Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation,” says Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania).  I look forward to getting to work with her, the new administration, and my colleagues in Congress on the many issues before the Committee this year, including critical FAA reforms and smart, responsible investments in our Nation’s infrastructure network.  We have a tremendous opportunity to improve our transportation systems, reduce regulatory burdens, encourage innovation and private-public partnerships, strengthen our competitiveness, and build a 21st century infrastructure for America.”