Pete Rahn, the former head of the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department, has been named the new director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, the agency announced Thursday, Aug. 26.
Rahn, 49, held the New Mexico post from 1995 to 2002, and has been an executive at several large companies, MoDOT officials said in a news release. He will start work at the highway agency Sept. 15.
The new director will take over an embattled agency that has faced a number of negative reviews, press reports and criticisms during the past few years.
Former director Henry Hungerbeeler announced in December 2003 that he would resign from his post at the agency. At the time, MoDOT was receiving heavy criticism from Missouri officials, media outlets and local officials in regard to a promise made in connection with a 1992 road plan, in which the department said it would build a four-lane highway to every Missouri city larger than 5,000 population. The agency announced later it did not have enough money to fulfill the promise. Hungerbeeler came to the agency in 1999, a year after the decision to back away from the plan.
In addition, the agency was the subject of a series of exposés by The Kansas City Star that pointed out inefficiencies and other problems within MoDOT. The Star reported that the state’s highways, once among the nations’ best, had fallen to being third on a list of the worst in the country.
“We’re thrilled to find someone of Pete’s caliber,” Transportation Commission Chairman Bill McKenna said in a statement. “His credentials are top-notch, and we’re confident he’ll be an innovative and highly effective leader.
“He did a great job leading the New Mexico transportation department, so he’s equipped to handle the challenges we’re facing here in Missouri.”