White House Nominates Economist for Top Research, Technology Post at DOT

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, was nominated for the post of assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation for research and technology, the White House announced on Sept. 28.



Furchtgott-Roth also is director of Economics21 at the conservative-leaning institute, where she produces scholarship on economic policy innovation.

DOT’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology is tasked with “providing and expanding opportunities for research collaboration and coordination while upholding the integrity and impartiality of transportation statistical data,” according to its website.

If confirmed, Furchtgott-Roth would lead a team in advancing innovation, facilitating multimodal research collaboration and providing statistics and information to decision-makers.

Also, the office oversees the testing of technology, applications and standards related to policy on vehicle-to-vehicle as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure features. Such communication capabilities are essential for establishing the wireless networks that would enable autonomous vehicles to travel.

Last month, DOT announced an update to its voluntary automated commercial and passenger vehicle federal guidance for manufacturers and state agencies seeking to deploy self-driving vehicles. On Capitol Hill, House lawmakers passed a bill that would test automated vehicles on roadways, while a Senate committee is scheduled to consider its version this month.

Prior to her involvement with the institute, Furchtgott-Roth, a George Washington University adjunct professor of economics, was chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, chief of staff of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers and deputy executive director of the Domestic Policy Council, according to the White House.

Her books include “Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America’s Young” and “Women’s Figures: An Illustrated Guide to the Economics of Women in America.”