The U.S. Department of Transportation has named a new deputy administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to replace the departing Meera Joshi.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced that Robin Hutcheson will become the deputy administrator of the agency and also will serve as acting administrator.
Hutcheson will be the fourth acting chief of FMCSA since Ray Martinez stepped down more than two years ago, and one of several to have left the agency unexpectedly since it was formed more than 20 years ago. The former deputy administrator, Meera Joshi, left the role to serve as a deputy mayor in New York City.
For the past year, Hutcheson has served as the deputy assistant secretary for safety policy for the U.S. Department of Transportation in the Biden-Harris administration.
“In this role she led safety policy for the department and coordinated other critical efforts, including COVID-19 response and recovery,” according to a DOT news release. “She was instrumental in the development of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, especially the new Safe Streets and Roads for All program.” The latter is a $5 billion, one-time grant program to support local initiatives to prevent death and serious injury on roads and streets, commonly referred to as ‘‘Vision Zero" initiatives.
Prior to that, she was the director of public works for the City of Minneapolis, overseeing a team of 1,100 people across nine divisions, including drinking water, surface waters and sewers, solid waste and recycling, fleet management, and all transportation functions.
And before that she was the transportation director for Salt Lake City, Utah.
Hutcheson served for seven years on the board of directors for the National Association of City Transportation Officials, most recently serving as its president. She also has served as a consultant specializing in transportation and transit and has worked throughout the western United States, in London and France, and for the European Union Commission on Sustainability.
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear in a statement pointed out that "she assumes this position at a critical time, as the pandemic, natural disasters, workforce shortages, and other factors continue to challenge the freight economy in ways never seen before.
"America’s trucking industry is the backbone of our economy, and we depend on partners in government who value data and stakeholder input to meet real-world needs and ensure the safe movement of freight across our nation’s highways. That’s particularly timely now, as DOT and FMCSA work to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which will strengthen highway safety standards while helping our industry meet the nation’s growing freight demands.”
Tanya Snyder, a reporter for Politico, called the pick “a statement:”
.@USDOT just announced that Robin Hutcheson will be deputy administrator of @FMCSA. A year ago she was the board chair at one of the most progressive organizations advocating for safe and inclusive street designs, so to put her in charge of trucking is a STATEMENT. https://t.co/8vwUhAuUCX— Tanya Snyder (@TSnyderDC) January 19, 2022