The Senate has confirmed Mary E. Peters, former head of the Federal Highway Administration, as Secretary of Transportation. The action came about 2:30 a.m. Sept. 30, shortly before lawmakers adjourned for a pre-election break.


Peters, who was director of the Arizona Dept. of Transportation before coming to FHWA in 2001, is expected to be sworn in as U.S. DOT secretary soon. Her approval by the Senate came less than a month after President Bush nominated her for the DOT post.

She will succeed Norman Y. Mineta as U.S. DOT secretary. Deputy DOT Secretary Maria Cino has been serving as acting head of the department since Mineta stepped down in July.

Peters' nomination has won wide praise from construction and transportation industry groups. Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors, said, "We are fortunate to have Mary Peters in this leadership role in transportation at a time when we face such significant challenges. Our infrastructure is aging, congestion is growing, and freight movement is increasing all at a time when revenue to meet these needs is shrinking."

AGC notes that Peters will become the chair of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, the congressionally mandated panel charged with analyzing highway and transit funding and other issues. Besides her background in highway finance and policy as FHWA chief and head of Arizona's DOT, Peters, most recently a senior vice president with engineering firm HDR, has been serving as a vice-chair of the transportation study commission.