Trump’s Transportation chief to testify on Capitol Hill next week

President Trump’s Transportation chief will testify on Capitol Hill next week to discuss ongoing efforts to repair the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, according to a Senate committee aide.

It will be Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s first appearance in front of the Senate since her confirmation hearing earlier this year.

Wednesday’s Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, titled “Improving America’s Transportation Infrastructure: The Road Forward,” comes in the middle of a national advocacy week promoting infrastructure investment. The purpose of the meeting is to get the administration’s views on the transportation and infrastructure needs of the country, a panel aide said.

{mosads}The hearing also comes as the White House crafts a $1 trillion infrastructure package designed to upgrade U.S. roads, bridges, airports and other public works.

While the timing and funding offsets for the proposal remain up in the air, other key details have begun to take shape in recent weeks.

The proposal is expected to focus heavily on boosting public-private partnerships and streamlining the lengthy permit approval process, which Trump has said can take up to 10 years.

The president said in a recent speech to builders that he wants to cut down the permitting process so that it only takes one year.

“Investors say there is ample capital available, waiting to invest in infrastructure projects,” Chao said at the American Association of Port Authorities conference last month. “So the problem is not money. It’s the delays caused by government.”

Senators are likely to press Chao for more details about the administration’s infrastructure push, such as how much it will cost, how the plan will be paid for and when legislative text will be released.

Lawmakers are also likely to seek commitments from Chao that the proposal include rural infrastructure projects – a chief priority of Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who has already held several hearings on the topic.


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