Transportation groups have responded warmly to US president Joe Biden’s nomination of Shailen Bhatt as Federal Highway Administrator.
ITS America offered congratulations to its former CEO, who is currently senior vice president, global transportation innovation, at Aecom.
"In his time at ITS America, he was passionate about the role technology plays in transforming our transportation system to save lives, improve access to mobility, and make transportation more sustainable," the organisation said in a statement.
"His vision, knowledge, and experience will be great assets for the FHWA team and the work they do to serve people in all communities. ITS America and our members look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration and the other modes within USDoT.”
Bhatt was executive director of Colorado DoT and secretary of Delaware DoT before joining ITS America.
Laura Chace, who succeeded Bhatt as CEO, tweeted: "The best news in a while - I am so thrilled, both personally and professionally, to see [him] nominated for this role. I am honoured to have worked with him at ITS America and look forward to working with him at FHWA."
Reaction from the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) was equally positive.
“IBTTA commends the nomination of Shailen Bhatt as Federal Highway Administrator,” said Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, commissioner, New Jersey Department of Transportation and 2022 IBTTA president.
“The breadth of experience he brings to the role as the former leader of two state departments of transportation, CEO of ITS America, and senior vice president at Aecom, will strengthen our nation’s highway system.”
Patrick Jones, executive director and CEO of IBTTA said: “It’s vital we have an FHWA administrator, such as Bhatt, who understands the important role that tolling plays in advancing modern and safe transportation infrastructure and building and maintaining roads, bridges, and tunnels. IBTTA looks forward to our continued partnership with the Federal Highway Administration on critical transportation issues.”
The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) joined the chorus of approval.
“I was fortunate to work closely with Shailen while serving as FHWA executive director," said ITE executive director and CEO Jeff Paniati.
"I saw first-hand the passion and vision he has for transportation and in ensuring that all Americans benefit from a safe, sustainable, and equitable transportation system."
In a statement, the Governors Highway Safety Association said it "strongly supports" Bhatt's nomination, calling him a "proven leader": "We look forward to his swift confirmation by the Senate and are excited to work with him in this new role to make roads safer for everyone that uses them," GHSA said.