Senate to discuss FMCSA administrator nomination

September 21, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will consider the nomination of Meera Joshi as the leader of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at a hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Following an executive session, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will have a hearing to consider the presidential nominations of Joshi and several others. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern time on Sept. 22.

Joshi, a former chairperson and CEO of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, has served as the agency’s acting administrator since Jan. 20. In April, President Joe Biden nominated Joshi to take the permanent role of FMCSA administrator.

If confirmed, Joshi will become FMCSA’s first permanent administrator since Ray Martinez stepped down from the post in October 2019. Since then, the agency has been led by Jim Mullen, Wiley Deck, and Joshi as acting administrators.

In her time as acting administrator, Joshi has taken part in industry roundtable discussions focused on finding ways to improve driver retention.

“Driver retention is really fundamental to our supply chain resiliency from job stability to overall roadway safety,” Joshi said at a driver retention roundtable discussion in July. “I’m grateful to the millions of men and women who transport over 70% of our nation’s freight across the country on a daily basis. This event is really about their workplace and their work conditions.

“There’s certainly more work to do and that will be detailed, complex, painstaking. I’m not going to say that there’s a magic wand. There certainly isn’t. Somebody would have waved it by now. But we are committed to do that work regardless of how difficult and challenging it is.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said it is pleased to see the agency’s focus on driver retention rather than the claims of a driver shortage and that the Association is willing to help find ways that will make trucking a more attractive long-term career.

“Her service as deputy administrator so far shows that she and others in the administration have easily recognized that the old tired narrative about a supposed driver shortage has missed the mark,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said. “She has expressed a genuine interest in learning more about the real problem, driver retention, and doing more to find long-term solutions. We look forward to helping with that however we can as an association, as well as exploring ways to address the severe inefficiencies in the supply chain. Under her leadership, we hope the agency will prioritize regulatory actions that support professional drivers, rather than policies that contribute to the difficulty of maintaining a career in trucking.”

The hearing also will look at the following nominations:

  • Victoria Marie Baecher Wassmer to be chief financial officer for the U.S. DOT.
  • Mohsin Raza Syed to be assistant secretary of government affairs for the U.S. DOT.
  • Amitabha Bose to be administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration.

Wednesday’s hearing will be livestreamed here. LL

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.