Senate Commerce Committee Approves NTSB Nominee Inman
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The panel’s approval of the nominee sets up a vote on the Senate floor. Democratic leaders in the chamber have yet to schedule a confirmation vote.
Before the committee vote, Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) pointed to existing needs at the independent safety agency. “Additional resources are needed to prepare for our current and future transportation safety challenges,” she said.
Inman, formerly a senior official at the U.S. Department of Transportation, told senators NTSB’s investigative agenda necessitates continued support in order to accommodate systems linked to automation and various wireless capabilities. An evolving transportation landscape meant to improve connectivity also must prioritize safety by stakeholders.
“Automation is on the rise in various modes of transportation,” Inman recently told the panel. “As this trend continues, the NTSB will need to deepen its understanding of the role of automation while still examining the human factors that contribute to transportation accidents and safety.”
The nominee also noted an importance for ensuring an equipped workforce at the independent agency. “The NTSB workforce has always been known and relied upon throughout the world as experts in their field,” he said. “Making sure that NTSB employees have the resources necessary to stay ahead of technological advances, and recruiting a workforce that can deal with the growing complexity of the NTSB’s mission, are critical to its success.”
Inman’s background includes his tenure as secretary of Florida’s Department of Management Services. “Beyond being responsible for the safety of Florida state workers in over 12 million square feet of office space, I signed and began implementation of the most comprehensive update ever procured to the state law enforcement radio system — this is the system that first responders rely upon to do their important safety work. I also led two of the national response framework divisions for emergency services which handled communications and logistics,” he explained.
“The NTSB serves the important function of thoroughly investigating transportation accidents to identify their causes and to make recommendations to prevent future incidents. As he demonstrated at his hearing last month, Todd Inman is highly qualified for this position. He is an experienced leader, practiced investigator and understands transportation safety,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the committee’s ranking member.
Cruz continued, “Mr. Inman knows how to lead a major organization, having recently served as Florida’s secretary of management services, where he administered a $1 billion budget and led a 1,000-person workforce. I strongly urge my colleagues to support Mr. Inman’s nomination to this important safety position.”
Another NTSB nominee awaiting a vote in the Senate is Alvin Brown. Months after the Senate Commerce Committee approved Brown for a seat on the NTSB, the chamber has yet to schedule a vote on his nomination. If confirmed, the former mayor of Jacksonville, Fla., would serve on the independent agency through 2026. The panel reported Brown’s nomination in July.
Cantwell expressed her support for the nominee: “The NTSB board needs hardworking and dedicated individuals who put safety as their top priority, and I believe that Mayor Brown will do so on behalf of the American people.”
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