Biden-Harris Administration Announces Retirement of Federal Transit Administrator
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the upcoming retirement of Administrator Nuria I. Fernandez, which will take effect February 24, 2024.
Fernandez was named Deputy Administrator on January 20, 2021, upon the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden, and was later nominated to be Administrator. On June 10, 2021, Fernandez was confirmed by the United States Senate as the 15th Administrator of FTA. She became the first woman of color to be confirmed to that position. During her three-year tenure at the helm of FTA, she led the agency in making transformative investments and created policies that made public transportation stronger and safer nationwide.
Fernandez championed FTA’s successful implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s (BIL) public transportation funding and programs, resulting in record investment in American transit. This included managing an annual mass transit budget that increased from $13 billion in fiscal year 2021 to $21 billion in fiscal year 2022 and establishing four new BIL competitive grant programs totaling $2.7 billion over the three years.
During her tenure, more than $4.8 billion was invested in American-made, zero-emission transit buses to support a more environmentally sustainable transportation system. She also established the Transit Workforce Center to provide America’s frontline transit workers with resources to increase safety in their operations, while growing their skills to be ready to operate and maintain the transit of the future.
Shortly after rejoining FTA in 2021, Fernandez took over leadership of the federal transit response to the impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency on transit. This included a focus on maintaining safe travel for the transit workforce that moved frontline workers to and from their jobs; implementing transit practices that reduced COVID-19-related illness and fatalities; and coordinating the award of more than $70 billion in federal COVID emergency recovery funds.
As Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, Fernandez travelled to dozens of rural, tribal, suburban and urban communities to personally engage with grant recipients, provide technical assistance and resource in support of American public transportation. She led pioneering events such as hosting the first FTA Asian-American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander transit listening sessions. She also led the first FTA event specifically for Alaska Natives in Anchorage, AK, to help FTA better understand the challenges facing transit in Alaskan communities.
Upon Administrator Fernandez’s departure from FTA on February 24, FTA Deputy Administrator Veronica Vanterpool will serve as Acting Administrator.