Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cosigner of Cintra-Zachry CDA for Trans-Texas Corridor to be appointed Secretary of Transportation

Bush to Name Mary Peters as Transportation Secretary


By Brendan Murray and Eric Torbenson
Copyright 2006

President George W. Bush is set to name Mary Peters, a veteran highway official, as secretary of transportation, an administration official said.

Peters will replace Norman Mineta, who left Bush's Cabinet in July, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. She was Bush's federal highway administrator from 2001 until July 2005, when she resigned to join an engineering firm. She previously served as transportation director in her home state of Arizona.

The nomination of Peters will be announced later today, the aide said. If confirmed by the Senate, she would take over the 60,000-person department as it tries to end gridlock in the skies, ports and on the ground costing the economy about $200 billion a year.

"Mary Peters has the potential to take it to the next level -- she's a fabulous pick,'' said David Berry, a spokesman for Phoenix-based Swift Transportation Co., the second-largest U.S. trucking company. "She really understands the critical role that goods movement plays in our nation's economy and how critical it is that the system be secure and that the infrastructure be well maintained and grown.''

As highway administrator, Peters sought more private investment in U.S. roads and bridges, according to the Transportation Department's Web site. She also promoted enhanced highway safety using such new technologies and advocated more spending on highways and transit systems.

Praise for Tollways

Speaking in Austin, Texas, in March 2005, she praised Texas's efforts to build more toll roads, saying tollways "are cutting the congestion that's choking our economy.''

"Our goal in the Bush administration is to make it safer, easier, faster and less expensive to move travelers and freight,'' she said.

Other issues facing the new transportation chief include overhauling the method for funding the nation's air-traffic system and enacting an aviation treaty with the European Union.

Mineta was the longest-serving Transportation secretary in the 39 years the job has existed. He was the only Democrat in Bush's Cabinet, joining the administration at the start of Bush's first term. He oversaw the federal takeover of security operations at the nation's 425 airports after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Peters would be the second woman to head the agency on a permanent basis. Elizabeth Dole ran the Transportation Department from February 1983 to September 1987.

Peters is a member of the National Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, which was created by Congress to study the future of U.S. surface transportation, according to the panel's Web site. The commission is scheduled to start public hearings around the U.S. on Sept. 20-21.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brendan Murray in Washington at brmurray@bloomberg.net ; Eric Torbenson in Dallas at etorbenson@bloomberg.net

© 2006 Bloomberg: www.bloomberg.com