Washington — President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate former U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to be Secretary of Transportation, his transition team said Tuesday.
Also Tuesday, a Republican source told Reuters that longtime investor and supplier executive Wilbur Ross would be named head of the U.S. Commerce Department. Rumors about the appointment first emerged last week. An announcement is expected Wednesday, NBC News reported. Ross declined comment.
Ross created auto interiors giant IAC Group in 2006 by buying interior trim operations from Lear Corp., the former Collins & Aikman Corp. and other firms. IAC is ranked by Plastics News as the second largest injection molder in North America.
Ross in 2014 founded W.L. Ross Holding Corp., which on June 9 completed its acquisition of a majority stake in Nexeo Solutions Inc. — a major North American distributor of plastic resins and specialty chemicals. Nexeo went public the next day on the Nasdaq Exchange. Ross now serves as chairman of Nexeo, which is based in The Woodlands, Texas.
Chao, 63, was the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet position when she served as Labor Secretary from 2001 through 2009 under President George W. Bush. She previously was the Transportation Department's deputy secretary under President George H.W. Bush.
In a statement, Trump signaled the key role Chao will play as the administration carries out his campaign pledge to revitalize U.S. infrastructure with up to $1 trillion in funding, a goal that will require broad support from Congress. Trump called her record and experience “invaluable assets in our mission to rebuild our infrastructure in a fiscally responsible manner.”
Trump's transition website says the incoming administration wants to invest $550 billion in highway, airport and other infrastructure projects.
"The President-elect has outlined a clear vision to transform our country's infrastructure, accelerate economic growth and productivity, and create good paying jobs across the country,” Chao said in a statement. “I am honored to be nominated by the President-elect to serve my beloved country as Transportation Secretary.”