Government Agency

Biden Administration – Department of Transportation


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This profile contains Biden Administration nominations and appointments made at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Nominations and Appointments

Pete Buttigieg is Secretary of Transportation. He is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s 2020 Presidential nomination. He also formerly served as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserve, as a consultant for McKinsey & Company, and worked on John Kerry’s 2004 Presidential campaign.1

Ann Carlson is Chief Counsel and Acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). She was previously an environmental law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, and co-directed the school’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.2 She has served as a board member at Los Angeles Waterkeeper,3 and the Environmental Law Institute.4

While serving as co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in 2017 and 2018, Carlson was involved efforts to fundraise for lawsuits filed by state and local governments against oil and gas companies, claiming that that should be liable for alleged harms caused by climate change.5 Despite her environmental activism, disclosures filed in March 2023 revealed that Carlson owned up to a $50,000 interest in Eastman Dillon Oil & Gas Associates Partnership, a company engaged in the oil & gas development business.6

In February 2023, President Biden nominated Carlson to serve as Administrator of the NHTSA. Concerns over her past environmental activism and statements regarding the role of the agency in the debate over climate change prompted significant pushback against her nomination, including from the Western Energy Alliance, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Ocean Industries Association, the American Farm Bureau, and the National Corn Growers Association. Carlson had reportedly written in emails to her UCLA colleagues that her role in the Biden Administration was “evidence that the Biden Administration is truly committed to a ‘whole of government’ approach to addressing climate change,” and that “I’m being appointed along with the deputy administrator as the first NHTSA appointees ever with serious climate expertise. In May 2023, the White House withdrew Carlson’s nomination.7

Nuria Fernandez is Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, where she had served as Deputy Administrator since January 20, 2021. She formerly served as General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, as Chief Operating Officer of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, as Senior Vice President of Design and Construction for both the Chicago Transit Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and as Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Aviation. During the Clinton Administration, she served as Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration. She has served as Chair of the American Public Transportation Association, and as a member of the boards of the Mineta Transportation Institute and the Transportation Learning Center, and on the executive committee of the Transportation Research Board.8

Polly Trottenberg is Deputy Secretary of Transportation. She formerly served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.9 She has also served as a Distinguished Visiting Urbanist at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, and on the boards of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, and TRANSCOM. During the Obama Administration, Trottenberg served as the Assistant Secretary and Under Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation. She also worked in the U.S. Senate for Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY).10 She was also the former Executive Director of Building America’s Future.11


  1. “Pete Buttigieg.” Ballotpedia. Accessed December 16, 2020. Available at: ^
  2. “Ann Carlson.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Accessed April 5, 2023. Available at:
  3. “Team.” Los Angeles Waterkeeper. September 29, 2020 (accessed via WayBack Machine). Available at:
  4. “ELI Board of Directors.” Environmental Law Institute. April 13, 2020 (accessed via WayBack Machine). Available at:
  5. Thomas Catenacci. “Biden Nominee Coordinated Dark Money Climate Nuisance Lawsuits Involving Leonardo DiCaprio.” Fox News. March 30, 2023. Available at:
  6. Thomas Catenacci. “Biden Climate Warrior Who Argued for Higher Energy Prices Has Stake in Oil and Gas Firm.” Fox News. May 23, 2023. Available at:
  7. Thomas Catenacci. “White House Cuts Another Top Biden Nominee Amid Mounting Opposition.” Fox News. May 30, 2023. Available at:
  8. “Nuria Fernandez.” Federal Transit Administration. Accessed June 14, 2021. Available at:
  9. Wanek-Libman, Mischa. “Polly Trottenberg Resigns From NYC DOT.” Mass Transit. November 25, 2020. Accessed January 14, 2021. Available at:
  10. “Our Faculty: Polly Trottenberg.” NYU Wagner. Accessed January 14, 2021.
  11. “Building America’s Future Applauds Polly Trottenberg’s Nomination to the U.S. Department of Transportation.” Building America’s Future. Accessed January 14, 2021.
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