President Bush has announced that he intends to appoint an
official with toll-road investor Macquarie to be the general counsel of the
U.S. Department of Transportation.
David James Gribbin, IV, of Virginia is currently the
division director for Macquarie Holdings, a Washington, DC, company under the
umbrella of the toll-road investor Macquarie Infrastructure Group of Australia.
Before that private sector job, Gribbin was chief counsel of
the Federal Highway Administration. Current Transportation Secretary Mary
Peters also worked at FHWA at that time.
Bush's announcement may draw anti-privatization sentiment
from U.S. senators during the confirmation process, according to Toll Road News, because Macquarie is one
of the principal investors in the controversial Indiana Toll Road lease and
others. The confirmation schedule has not yet been announced.
In June 2006, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, himself a former
Bush advisor, signed over control of the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road to
Macquarie of Australia and Cintra of Spain for 75 years. That transaction
netted a one-time payment of $3.85 billion for state highways. Critics say the
transaction will leave the state strapped for highway cash in a few short years
while the private investors profit from the tolls.
Gribbin said in an e-mail correspondence with Toll Road News that he credits Peters'
recent appointment to DOT secretary as a factor in his nomination. He also gave
props to Macquarie for being a leader in the U.S. public-private partnership
market for infrastructure.
When Peters moved into her new role as transportation
secretary, Gribbin left the FHWA to do volunteer work in Costa Rica. He has a
law degree from Georgetown University.
Early in his career, according to a DOT press release,
Gribbin was director of public sector business development with Koch
Macquarie's U.S. ventures, subsidiaries of Macquarie Bank of
Sydney, Australia, have 100 percent interest and control in the South Bay
Expressway in San Diego; 100 percent in the Dulles Greenway toll road in
Virginia near Washington, DC; 50 percent in the Indiana Toll Road; 45 percent
in the Chicago Skyway in Illinois; and 30 percent in the 407 Express Toll Route
in Ontario, Canada.