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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao Codifies Reforms in New Departmental Rulemaking Process

Thursday, December 5, 2019

WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced a final rule codifying a series of important reforms to the Department’s rulemaking, guidance, and enforcement practices.  The rule enhances transparency in how the Department issues rules and guidance documents, as well as strengthens due process in DOT enforcement actions.

“When rules are outdated, duplicative, overly complex and contradictory, they harm the cause of safety and effectiveness.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

DOT is leading the way in reforming not just individual regulations, but the process by which we regulate.  This “rule on rules” is an example of the type of good government embraced by this Administration.  It will continue to aid the Department in promoting clear and effective engagements with all those who are impacted by DOT’s regulations, which touch on all forms of transportation.

Since January 2017, DOT has saved $3.68 billion in regulatory costs to the economy and U.S. consumers, and has far exceeded the President’s 2-for-1 plan.  At its peak, DOT was issuing 23 deregulatory actions for every new significant regulatory action.  DOT continues to maintain the largest number of deregulatory actions in the Unified Agenda of any department or agency.

The rule’s major components include permanently incorporating the Trump Administration’s regulatory reform policies on regulatory budgeting, the “2-for-1” plan, and the Regulatory Reform Task Force.  The Rule will codify additional procedures for the issuance of the Department’s most costly rules, including enhanced opportunities for public participation.  The rule clarifies that the Department’s guidance documents do not impose legal obligations and shall not be used as a basis for enforcement. It also ensures due process protections for potential subjects of enforcement actions, including open and fair investigations and proceedings.

More information can be found here: