Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigns

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced she is stepping down from the cabinet post she has held since 2017.

Her resignation will take effect Jan. 11 she wrote in a letter to her department. Chao announced her departure after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Transportation Secretary
Elaine Chao

“I am tremendously proud of the many accomplishments we were able to achieve together for our country and I will never forget the commitment you have for this Department and the United States of America,” she wrote in her announcement to her staff.

Chao added that she still planned to help the Transportation Secretary designate Pete Buttigieg in taking on the department.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the U.S. Department of Transportation,” she tweeted Thursday.

Prior to her tenure, motorcoach operators were facing a range of new mandates ranging from quadrupling liability insurance limits to mandatory sleep apnea tests.

“Burdensome regulations, and the threat of even more, have a quelling effect on expanding fleets, services, jobs and new entrants,” said Ken Presley, United Motorcoach Association’s vice president of legislative, regulatory affairs and industry relations.

He added that Secretary Chao’s aversion to new regulations and propensity to eliminate unproductive ones were cheered when she was nominated by President Trump. She lived up to her reputation while maintaining the safest commercial motor vehicle operations in the world.

Saving money, time

In July, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rescinded the requirement that drivers of commercial buses submit — and motor carriers retain — driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) when the driver has neither found nor been made aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies.

The rule revision is expected to save the industry $74 million annually, estimating passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers spent about 2.4 million hours each year completing no-defect DVIRs.

Under Chao’s leadership, the FMCSA focused its efforts on reducing regulatory burdens without impacting safety.

“We are grateful for the effort the Agency is taking under Secretary Chao’s leadership,” UMA President and CEO Larry Killingsworth said. “Every moment we can spend not filling out and retaining needless forms is time and resources we can invest in safe operations.”

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