A couple of weeks ago I noted some of President Obama's statements about transportation and land-development which showed that he cares about, and understands, important but oft-overlooked policies that have a huge influence on how much oil the nation consumes.
Today we have more evidence that this Administration is serious about transforming transportation policy: The appointment of Roy Kienitz as Undersecretary of Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
I met Roy about a decade ago when Congress was working on the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and Roy was a thoughtful, strategic director of the premier organization lobbying for better policy, the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP). While there, he and a team of capable colleagues produced top-notch and novel analyses of transportation issues (the title of this entry is actually taken from a particularly useful report) and led a big-tent coalition through a tough reauthorization of federal transportation policy. Previously, he worked in the Senate including for Senator Moynihan, and helped to pass landmark changes in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Since leaving STPP, Roy has directed the planning department in Maryland under visionary governor and smart-growth champion Parris Glendening and is now Deputy Chief of Staff for Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
President Obama, Secretary LaHood, and the nation are very fortunate that this is the next big step in Roy's impressive career path. He can help the Administration take advantage of what could -- and should -- be a pivotal moment for federal transportation policy. I look forward to working with him again.