DOT's second in command John Porcari announces departure

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 12/11/2013

U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari has announced he will step down effective Dec. 31. The DOT responded by promoting current Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez to the position effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Porcari has been deputy secretary and chief operating officer at the DOT since June 1, 2009, overseeing day-to-day operations of the DOT’s 10 modal administrations and 55,000 employees under former Secretary Ray LaHood and current Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“This is a bittersweet moment,” Porcari wrote in a letter to DOT staff. “It has been one of the great honors of my life to serve by your side on behalf of the American people.”

Secretary Foxx announced that Victor Mendez will step in as acting deputy secretary in the new year.

“First and foremost, I want to thank our friend and colleague, John Porcari, for his dedication and service to the Department of Transportation,” Foxx stated in a letter to staff. He credits Porcari for leading the department’s charge to cut red tape and streamline various project approval processes.

“I am pleased to announce that I have asked Victor Mendez to serve as the Acting Deputy Secretary effective Jan. 1, 2014,” Foxx wrote. “Victor brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role, having served as the Federal Highways administrator since 2009.”

The letters by Foxx and Porcari do not indicate where the deputy secretary will land in the future.

Porcari recently addressed an infrastructure summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by the American Highway Users Alliance, of which OOIDA is a member, and Volvo Group.

Porcari told summit attendees that the recession helped the DOT take stock of the link between transportation and economic development. He spoke of the effort to speed up the time it takes to approve and complete transportation projects

“There’s also an emphasis on project delivery,” he told the summit attendees. “One of the places I think we all believe we can add value on the federal level is to rationalize and re-engineer that process. It’s obviously an interagency effort, but it’s one we believe is worth the time and the effort.”

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