Before adjourning to return home for election campaigning, the Senate approved President Bush's choice of Mary E. Peters to serve as the next Secretary of Transportation. Peters served as chief of the Federal Highway Administration from 2001 to 2005 and prior to that spent 16 years with the Arizona Department of Transportation, serving three of those years as the director.
"We are fortunate to have Mary Peters in this leadership role in transportation at a time when we face such significant challenges," Associated General Contractors' (AGC) CEO Stephen Sandherr said of the Senate's action. "Our infrastructure is aging, congestion is growing and freight movement is increasing--all at a time when revenue to meet these needs is shrinking."
One of the key roles Peters will play in her new position is as the Chair of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commsission. Established in the 2005 SAFETEA-LU legislation, the commission is charged with making recommendations on the future of national transportation policy. These recommendations are likely to be the foundation for the next transportation bill, which must be enacted by the end of FY 2009. AGC will aid the efforts of the commission by co-hosting field hearings around the country in the next few months to examine the issues related to future transportation needs and funding options, and by presenting testimony. AGC also has offered to provide critical technical staff support on these key issues.
Peters has worked closely with AGC both during her time with the Arizona DOT and while at the FHWA. She has addressed AGC's convention on two occasions and participated in numerous other AGC meetings. Following meetings between AGC and the U.S. DOT Office of Inspector General, Peters established work groups within the FHWA to work with AGC to address a number of issues of concern to the industry. Several of those groups continue to meet.
Peters will replace Norman Mineta who resigned as Transportation Secretary in July.
"AGC looks forward to continuing its close working relationship with Secretary Peters as we strive for new ways to solve the nation's transportation challenges," Sandherr added.