Federal agencies Transportation Transportation

Chao signs new DOT ‘rule on rules’


Washington — Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao on Dec. 3 signed a final rule on rules, a 98-page document that provides guidelines for the department’s rulemaking, guidance and enforcement.

The major parts of the rule include President Donald Trump’s “2-for-1” plan – an Executive Order requiring two deregulatory actions for each new and “significant” regulatory action with a proposed cost of $100 million or more. A Dec. 5 press release from DOT states that the department – “at its peak” – was “issuing 23 deregulatory actions for every new significant regulatory action,” and that it “continues to maintain the largest number of deregulatory actions in the Unified Agenda of any department or agency.”

The rule also gives additional procedures for DOT’s “most costly rules” and includes “enhanced” chances for the public to participate. It also states that the department’s agencies cannot use guidance documents as a basis for enforcement.


“When rules are outdated, duplicative, overly complex and contradictory, they harm the cause of safety and effectiveness,” Chao said in the release. “This effort enhances the department’s regulatory process by providing greater transparency and strengthening due process in enforcement actions.”

In a Dec. 6 tweet, former OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab countered, “Deregulatory policies at DOT = more airplane disasters, unsafe vehicles, roads, railroads, pipelines, drones & self-driving cars. And weaker vehicle emission standards. But less ‘red tape’ and more profits, so all’s good, right?”

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