President Joe Biden's choice to run the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is one step closer to being the agency's full-time administrator.
Robin Hutcheson's nomination was recommended Wednesday by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. She now awaits approval by the entire Senate. If approved, she would become the FMCSA's first full-time administrator in almost three years.
No date has been set for a vote on her nomination.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appointed Hutcheson deputy administrator in late January after Meera Joshi left the agency to take a post in the New York City mayor's office. As deputy administrator, Hutcheson also serves as the acting administrator. President Biden nominated her for the role of administrator in April.
FMCSA hasn't had a full-time administrator since Ray Martinez, who stepped down from the post in October 2019. The job has since been held by Jim Mullen, Wiley Deck, Joshi, and Hutcheson, each as acting administrator.
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Hutcheson sailed through her committee interview and has the support of trucking's major stakeholder groups, including the American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
During Hutcheson's appearance before the Senate committee Chairperson Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) began the questioning by asking Hutcheson about her number one priority for reducing highway fatalities. In response, Hutcheson listed:
- increasing investigations of high-risk carriers
- getting infrastructure funding into the hands of states
- closing loopholes so unsafe drivers aren't on the road
Before joining FMCSA, Hutcheson served as the deputy assistant secretary for Safety Policy for the Department of Transportation.
Prior to that she was the director of public works for the City of Minneapolis overseeing a team of 1,100 people across nine divisions including drinking water, surface waters and sewers, solid waste and recycling, fleet management, and all transportation functions.
Hutcheson also previously served as the transportation director for Salt Lake City, working to improve all modes of transportation.