Mary E. Peters was nominated by President George W. Bush on September 5, 2006, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 15th Secretary of Transportation on September 30, 2006, after spending more than two decades crafting solutions to our nation’s toughest transportation challenges.
Secretary Peters brings a unique perspective to her role as the nation’s transportation chief, having spent her career working on transportation issues in the private and public sectors, including leading both federal and state transportation agencies. This hands-on experience allows her to understand and appreciate the real-life aspects of planning, building and operating transportation systems on local, regional and state levels.
Over her 20-plus years in transportation, Secretary Peters has earned a solid reputation as an innovative problem solver, a force for safety and a strong advocate for effective use of taxpayer dollars. As Secretary of Transportation, she intends to use these same skills to tackle today’s most pressing challenges including fighting congestion across all modes of transportation, improving safety and addressing strains on traditional sources of transportation funding.
She is responsible for maintaining a safe, reliable and efficient transportation system, while leading an agency with almost 60,000 employees and a $61.6 billion budget that oversees air, maritime and surface transportation missions.
Prior to joining President Bush’s Cabinet, Peters worked in Phoenix, AZ, as the national director for transportation policy and consulting at HDR, Inc., a major engineering firm. She was responsible for building a management consulting practice and formulating public policy initiatives for the firm’s transportation program.
In 2001, the President asked Peters to lead the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). As FHWA Administrator from 2001 to 2005, she placed special emphasis on finding new ways to invest in road and bridge construction, including innovative public-private partnerships that help build roads faster and at less expense. She also was a strong advocate for using new technology to reduce construction time, saving taxpayer money and resulting in safer, longer-lasting roads and highways.
From 1985 to 2001, she served in the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). During her tenure, Peters worked her way up through the ranks as a contract administrator, deputy director for administration, and deputy director. In 1998, then-Governor Jane Hull appointed her director of the agency. While in office, she was recognized as the Most Influential Person in Arizona Transportation by the Arizona Business Journal.
Secretary Peters received the 2004 National Woman of the Year Award from the Women’s Transportation Seminar, a national organization of transportation professionals. She chaired the Standing Committee on Planning and the Asset Management Task Force for the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHTO), and was a member of the AASHTO 2001 Reauthorization Steering Committee.
A fourth-generation Arizonan and an avid motorcyclist, Secretary Peters holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix and attended Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for State and Local Government Executives. She and her husband, Terry, have three grown children, and five grandchildren.