Let’s invest in U.S. future
By Secretary Elaine Chao
Orlando Sentinel

February 15, 2018

President Donald Trump has announced a bold, innovative plan for improving and investing in America’s infrastructure. The proposal is the culmination of a year-long effort between Cabinet agencies, including the Department of Transportation, with significant input from state, local, and private sector leaders. It is designed to change how infrastructure is built, financed and maintained in communities across the country.

One out of every five miles of U.S. highway pavement is in poor condition. Americans spent an estimated 6.9 billion hours delayed in traffic in 2014, or 42 hours per driver. Almost 40 percent of America’s bridges are more than 50 years old.

Fortunately, the president is a builder and he is making infrastructure a priority.

President Trump’s proposal will stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment, which includes a minimum of $200 billion in direct federal funding. It will include not only roads and bridges, but drinking and wastewater, energy, broadband, and veterans hospitals as well.

The guiding principles are to: 1) provide federal dollars as matching funds to incentivize infrastructure investment; 2) provide for the needs of rural communities; 3) streamline and speed up project delivery; and, 4) provide for workforce training.

The key element of the proposal is to empower decision making by State and local officials, who know best the infrastructure needs of their communities, including those in rural America.

Infrastructure is the foundation of our economy, and the key to job growth and keeping our country competitive. The citizens of Florida know this. Americans know this.

Read the full op-ed here.