FUNDING: Chao says Trump plans to remove obstacles to P3s

Jan. 12, 2017

The transportation secretary-designate told lawmakers the new administration will form a task force to look at a variety of financing options for infrastructure projects

President-elect Donald Trump plans to open up the potential of private investments and use innovative financing tools to rebuild the nation's transportation networks, Transportation Secretary-designate Elaine Chao told lawmakers at her Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

"As we work together to develop the details of President Trump's infrastructure plan, it is important to note the significant difference between traditional program funding and other innovative financing tools, such as public-private partnerships," she said in her opening remarks before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Chao said the Trump administration will look at how to remove current legal and regulatory roadblocks to P3s. She added that the new administration will form a task force to look at a variety of financing options for infrastructure projects.

Trump released a 10-year, $1 trillion infrastructure proposal in late October that relies on $137 billion of tax credits to attract private investments in transportation and other infrastructure projects.

According to Chao, she and Trump would support more direct federal funding for infrastructure beyond what is in the five-year Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act adopted in late 2015.

Committee chairman Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said he expects the committee to approve Chao's nomination on Jan. 20, the first day of the Trump presidency.