President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Federal Highway Administration was easily confirmed March 28.
In a 95-1 vote, the U.S. Senate cleared Nicole Nason to become administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), a presidential aspirant, opposed the nominee.
Nason will be tasked with overseeing the country’s surface transportation system at a time when parts of the infrastructure network are categorized as substandard and autonomous technology is rapidly advancing.
“Nason will do an excellent job leading the Federal Highway Administration,” Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said. “She will be an important partner as Congress drafts and implements bipartisan highway infrastructure legislation.”
That panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, expressed hope that Nason would work with Congress on the crafting of a comprehensive infrastructure policy bill.
“There is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, which is how our country will pay for these infrastructure improvements,” Carper explained, adding, “Our Highway Trust Fund is going broke, and our way of paying for it is broken. At the Federal Highway Administration, Ms. Nason will find herself at the center of a debate over how we fix the Highway Trust Fund. I was encouraged to hear that Ms. Nason believes ‘all options are on the table,’ with respect to finding sustainable funding solutions.”
Analysts estimate the trust fund will approach insolvency in two years. House and Senate transportation leaders have yet to unveil an infrastructure policy measure.