By Railfan & Railroad Staff
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate confirmed a new Secretary of Transportation this week while the outgoing Federal Railroad Administration administrator has been appointed to the board of a well-known short line company.
On Feb. 2, Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was confirmed as the 19th Secretary of Transportation. Buttigieg, 39, was mayor from 2012 until 2020 and made a splash on the national stage during a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year.
Freight railroads — represented by the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association — and Amtrak were quick to praise Buttigieg’s confirmation.
“Amtrak applauds the Senate’s confirmation of Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation,” said CEO Bill Flynn. “As a mayor and public servant, Secretary Buttigieg understands the challenges facing American cities and the role passenger rail plays in connecting people and economies. His commitment to invest in infrastructure and climate initiatives will create jobs, help the nation recover from the pandemic, and provide for a more sustainable transportation system in America.”
Meanwhile, the former FRA administrator, railroad veteran Ronald Batory, has been appointed to R.J. Corman’s board of directors. Prior to running the FRA under former President Donald Trump, Batory spent his entire 46-year career in the railroad industry, including 12 years as president and chief operating officer of Conrail and four years as president of Belt Railway Company of Chicago.
“We are elated to welcome Ron Batory onto our advisory board,” said Ed Quinn, president and CEO of R. J. Corman Railroad Group. “His legacy in the railroad industry is unparalleled and we are honored and grateful that he is joining our group of exceptional board members. Our company has worked with Ron in many capacities throughout his career in the railroad industry and we know he is a person of impeccable integrity whose insight and leadership will prove invaluable as he helps steward our company in the coming years.”
A new FRA administrator has yet to be nominated. Deputy Administrator Amit Bose is presently serving as acting administrator.