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July 28, 2014 11:35 AM, EDT
FMCSA's Anne Ferro Stepping Down in August
FMCSA

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration chief Anne Ferro will step down from her post next month, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced July 25.

“Anne has been a true leader in safety throughout her time at DOT,” Foxx wrote in a memo to DOT staff. “She has made it more difficult for companies that jeopardize the public’s well-being to stay in business and easier for consumers to make informed choices when choosing a shipper or buying a bus ticket.”

UPDATE, JULY 29, 10 a.m. EDT: Ferro is scheduled to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security on July 29 at 3 p.m. EDT. It will be streamed live at the committee's website.

Ferro said she is leaving the agency to become president and CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators in August. Appointed in 2009 by President Obama, she had been the agency’s longest-serving administrator.

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In a note to FMCSA staff, Ferro touted her push to “ensure that companies and drivers are more accountable for their actions, strengthened our oversight of high-risk carriers, created better tools for our law enforcement partners, and opened up a new world of useful  data to educate both businesses and consumers alike.”

The White House will be expected to announce Ferro’s successor in the coming weeks. There’s no clear indication yet about her replacement. But whomever the Obama administration nominates, she or he will very likely face several senators who oppose the agency’s recent hours-of-service rules. Current FMCSA deputy administrator Bill Bronrott would be an obvious choice to lead the agency in an acting capacity until an administrator is confirmed.

Ferro was in Wilmington, Ohio, July 25, speaking at Expedite Expo, where she gave no indication she was about to step down, reported the Wilmington (Ohio) News Journal. “She gave no indication at all as she was addressing the companies in the expedite trucking industry,” said Lawrence McCord, the president and CEO of On Time Media LLC, which produces the annual Expedite Expo.

According to her official DOT background, Ferro said she championed highway safety and efforts to turn the agency into an ideal place to work in the federal government.

But during her tenure, the agency also adopted new HOS rules that took effect last year. The rules, which mandate truckers who reach a maximum of 70 hours of driving in a week to account for a 34-hour restart between their workweeks, largely were opposed by the trucking industry.

Ferro’s defense of the rules prompted strong opposition. A few weeks ago, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) called for her resignation. Jim Johnston, CEO of OOIDA, said Ferro had a “clear bias against truckers and the trucking industry.” OOIDA represents the interests of professional truck drivers and small-business trucking companies.

On July 25, Johnston said, “We would like to congratulate the Administrator on her new position and wish her well as she leads the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. … She is well known for having unprecedented personal outreach and engagement with truckers in all the years that we have worked with the agency.”

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves said Ferro was a “passionate advocate” for the agency. “We wish her well in her new role at the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and look forward to working with her on commercial driver licensing issues,” Graves added.

Before coming to FMCSA, Ferro was president and CEO of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, and Maryland's Motor Vehicle Administrator before that. She earned degrees from St. John's College in Maryland, and the University of Maryland.

AAMVA said via Twitter, "We look forward to her leadership and expertise starting on August 25th."