Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters announced her resignation late Wednesday. She will step down at the end of July. Peters' reason for leaving was not immediately known, but those close to the administrator believe it was for personal reasons. She plans to return to the private sector and will operate out of her hometown of Phoenix, Ariz.
Peters, however, did not want to leave before the reauthorization of TEA-21 was well on its way to being approved by President Bush. Sources on Capitol Hill say a highway-funding bill could be sent to the Oval Office as early as next week.
Peters began her tenure in the FHWA executive seat on Oct. 2, 2001, and immediately tailored the agency to her style of play. She placed special emphasis on finding new ways to invest in road and bridge construction, including innovative public-private partnerships that helped build roads faster and at a more affordable cost. Peters also led a crusade for work-zone safety, and was a strong advocate for using new technology that reduces construction time, saving the taxpayer money and resulting in safer, longer-lasting highways.
In 2004 the Women's Transportation Seminar honored Peters with the National Woman of the Year Award. She also was on the board of directors for ITS America, chaired the Standing Committee on Planning and the Asset Management Task Force for the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials and served as a member of the AASHTO 2001 Reauthorization Steering Committee.
"She'll be missed," Matt Jeanneret, director of public affairs for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, told ROADS & BRIDGES. "She has been a very capable administrator. She has been a very articulate, credible advocate on the need to invest in transportation infrastructure.
"I would expect the final TEA-21 reauthorization bill will have some major policy provisions that were championed by Mary Peters and FHWA."
FHWA Deputy Administrator Rick Capka will be the acting administrator until Peters' replacement is appointed, which could come in the fall.
"Rick has been around for a long time. He's very knowledgeable of the issues," added Jeanneret.