Robin Hutcheson takes over as FMCSA’s acting administrator

January 20, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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For the fourth time in a little more than two years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a new leader.

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced that Robin Hutcheson is being nominated to become the deputy administrator of the FMCSA. Without a permanent administrator in place, Hutcheson will assume the role as acting administrator.

Hutcheson served as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s deputy assistant secretary for safety policy starting in January 2021.

“In this role, she led safety policy for the department and coordinated other critical efforts, including COVID-19 response and recovery,” the FMCSA wrote in a news release. “She was instrumental in the development of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, especially the new Safe Streets and Roads for All program.”

She will take over FMCSA’s acting administrator role from Meera Joshi, who announced in December she was leaving the agency to become a deputy mayor for New York City.

Before joining the U.S. Department of Transportation, Hutcheson 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. She also has served as the transportation director for Salt Lake City and was on the board of directors for the National Association of City Transportation Officials for seven years.

 FMCSA leadership

The acting administrator position at FMCSA has been a revolving door since Ray Martinez stepped down as permanent administrator in October 2019.

Following Martinez’s departure, Jim Mullen became the agency’s acting administrator. Mullen stepped down in August 2020, and Wiley Deck held the role until the Biden administration named Joshi to the position in January 2021.

In April, President Joe Biden nominated Joshi to take the permanent role as the administrator of FMCSA. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee advanced Joshi’s nomination through a 22-6 roll call in October. However, Joshi’s confirmation still hadn’t been approved by the full Senate.

The December announcement that she was leaving to take a position as New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ deputy mayor came as a surprise.

In a Politico article published on Jan. 19, Buttigieg said he was frustrated with the Senate’s slow pace of confirming U.S. Department of Transportation nominees. LL

TBS

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.