Senate approves Capka as administrator of FHWA; Nicole Nason as NHTSA chief

June 09, 2006

The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of J. Richard Capka as administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), along with other senior U.S. Department of Transportation posts, including Nicole Nason as administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Capka had been serving as acting administrator since Mary Peters resigned from the senior FHWA post in the summer of 2005.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and its member departments long-supported Capka's nomination, noting the retired U.S. Army Brigadier General secured federal aid to help hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast states begin rebuilding their infrastructure and responded quickly to a bridge collapse in Oklahoma when a barge struck a piling along a section of I-40.

"These are exciting and challenging times in surface transportation, and it's a great honor to serve the President as Federal Highway Administrator," Capka said in a statement. "I look forward to continue working with Secretary Mineta to improve highway safety, promote innovative highway funding solutions and implement the administration's new plan to fight traffic congestion and freight bottlenecks."

Prior to being appointed the deputy administrator of the FHWA in August 2002, Capka served as chief executive officer/executive director of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, where he directed the oversight of the $14.5 billion Big Dig project in Boston.

Capka retired from a 29-year military career in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he served in the U.S., Europe, the Pacific and the Far East. He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.

Nason to lead NHTSA

The confirmation of Nason, the current assistant secretary for Governmental Affairs at the U.S. DOT, allows her to move into the NHTSA administrator post. She will lead highway traffic safety initiatives administered by NHTSA.

Nason came to the U.S. DOT from the U.S. Customs Service, where she was assistant commissioner of the Office of Congressional Affairs. She also served as counsel for the House Judiciary Committee under former Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) and as counsel and communications director for Intelligence Committee when it was chaired by former Rep. Porter Goss, a Republican from Florida.

Duvall confirmed as assistant secretary for Transportation Policy

Tyler Duvall, formerly the deputy assistant secretary for Transportation Policy was confirmed to be the assistant secretary for Transportation Policy.

As the deputy assistant secretary for Transportation Policy in the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. DOT, Duvall worked closely with the secretary for policy, and the administrators of the department's various modal administrations in the development of transportation policies. In addition, Tyler coordinated the U.S. DOT's implementation of President Bush's Executive Order to streamline the environmental reviews of transportation projects.

From 2002 to 2003, Duvall was the special assistant to the assistant secretary for Transportation Policy. In that role, he advised the assistant secretary on a broad range of transportation policy and legal issues related to surface and maritime transportation.

Prior to joining U.S. DOT, Duvall worked from 1998 to 2002 as an associate in the business and finance group of Hogan & Hartson, LLP, the largest law firm in Washington, D.C.

Duvall received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and his bachelor of arts with a major in economics from Washington and Lee University.

Other U.S. DOT confirmations

The U.S. Senate also confirmed two other U.S. DOT posts: Thomas J. Barrett to be administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration; and Roger Karr as assistant secretary of Transportation (Government Affairs).

Vice Admiral Barrett, of Alaska, currently serves as chief operating officer and vice president of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Prior to this, he served the U.S. Coast Guard for more than 35 years, retiring as Vice Commandant. Barrett received his bachelor's degree from LeMoyne College and his Juris Doctor from the George Washington University.

Karr, of the District of Columbia, most recently served as deputy chief of staff for the U.S. DOT. Prior to this, he served as deputy assistant secretary of Transportation for Governmental Affairs. He also served as manager for Regulatory Affairs for the American Association of Airport Executives. Earlier in his career, Karr served as a legislative assistant for American Airlines. Karr received his bachelor's degree from Texas Christian University and his master's degree from Temple University. He went on to receive his law degree from Georgetown University.