The U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination of Robin Hutcheson to become the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Administrator Hutcheson has served as FMCSA Deputy Administrator since mid-January 2022. In 2021, Hutcheson was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Safety Policy for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
As administrator, Hutcheson leads approximately 1,100 agency employees, 900 of whom work in the four regional service centers and the division offices in each state, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. President Biden earlier nominated Meera Joshi to head up FMCSA, but she withdrew her nomination in late 2021 to take a position with the New York City Mayor’s Office.
Administrator Hutcheson reports directly to U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg. She coordinates closely with the leadership of the department’s ten other regulatory agencies and operating administrations.
While Hutcheson did not bring a background in trucking to the federal government, she did clearly display the makings of an FMCSA administrator:
- As Director of Public Works for the City of Minneapolis and as Transportation Director for Salt Lake City, Hutcheson oversaw large staffs engaged in all aspects of transportation. In remarks this year to the Mid-America Trucking Show, Hutcheson noted that those jobs included responsibility for the recruitment, training, and CDL licensing of city snowplow drivers.
- Through seven years on the board of directors for the National Association of City Transportation Officials, culminating in its presidency, Hutcheson worked hand-in-hand with other government officials, as she must now do at USDOT.
- Hutcheson came to USDOT already versed in the nuances of the regulatory process from her background as a transportation and transit consultant. Certainly, her intimate involvement in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill while serving as USDOT Deputy Assistant Secretary for Safety Policy and her months leading FMCSA from the Deputy Administrator slot provide Hutcheson with an understanding of FMCSA’s role and how the wheels of government turn.
While at the Mid-America Trucking Show earlier this year, Hutcheson acknowledged that Congress did not authorize FMCSA to meet every need and address every problem in trucking. But she said that she and her staff would always be active listeners, and where they saw a role for the federal government, whether at FMCSA or elsewhere, they would carry trucking concerns forward to the people or agencies who could act.
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear applauded Robin Hutcheson on her confirmation as the seventh Administrator of the FMCSA.
“I want to congratulate Robin on her confirmation to this important role,” Spear said. “In her time as Acting Administrator, Robin has a true partner with our industry – working to confront a number of issues facing trucking.
“Whether it is addressing safety concerns, ongoing supply chain issues or workforce development, she has been open to engaging with our industry and we look forward to continuing our ongoing, candid dialogue about these challenges and to engaging with her and her agency to implement solutions that uphold safety and improve efficiency in trucking and across the supply chain,” he said.
Truckload Carriers Association President Jim Ward also praised the confirmation.
“Speaking on behalf of the association, I am pleased to see this confirmation come to fruition,” Ward said. “In the short time that she has been there, the Administrator has demonstrated a passion for safety improvement and a willingness to engage with the industry. We are looking forward to working with her on truckload related safety measures in the future.”
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