Mary E. Peters, President Bush's nominee to lead the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, has moved a step closer to confirmation. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Sept. 25 approved Peters' nomination on a 22-0 vote.


The next step for Peters, a former head of the Federal Highway Administration, is a vote by the full Senate. That could occur before Congress adjourns around Sept. 30 for its pre-election recess.

Peters, 57, is moving swiftly through the confirmation process. Bush nominated her for the top DOT job on Sept. 5 and she breezed through her hearing before the commerce committee on Sept. 20.

If Peters wins Senate approval, she would succeed Norman Y. Mineta as DOT secretary. Mineta left DOT in July after more than five years as secretary. Peters was FHWA's chief from October 2001 through July 2005 and before that served 15 years at the Arizona DOT. She rose from contract administrator to become the department's director from 1998 to 2001. After leaving FHWA last year, Peters has been a senior vice president with engineering firm HDR.