By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

President Donald Trump Jan. 3 nominated Nicole Nason, a former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) chief, to lead the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). She is currently at the State Department as assistant secretary for administration.

At NHTSA from 2006 to 2008, Nason helped to initiate new seat belt rules for school buses, rulemaking for electronic stability control systems, and new car seat safety regulations, according to a government biography. Under her watch, NHSTA developed the first-ever criteria for crash test ratings for the Five-Star Safety Ratings program and held the first-ever bilateral meeting with the Chinese government on regulations for motor vehicle safety.  Prior to leading that agency, Nason served as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s assistant secretary for government affairs.

Nicole Nason

“Nicole Nason is an experienced government administrator and solid choice to head FHWA,” said Dave Bauer, ARTBA’s president and CEO.  “We hope the U.S. Senate confirms her soon so she can help lead the effort to address the nation’s highway infrastructure needs.”

Trump in 2017 nominated Paul Trombino III to lead FHWA, but the veteran state transportation department official withdrew before being confirmed by the Senate. For more than 18 months, Brandye Hendrickson, a former Indiana Department of Transportation commissioner, has been serving as the agency’s deputy administrator, its highest-ranking official in the absence of an administrator.

Nason earned a bachelor’s in political science and government at American University, and a law degree at Case Western Reserve University.

Her work with Project Koe, a Connecticut fitness program based on the centuries-old traditions of Shorin-Ryu karate and designed to empower women by promoting their inner and physical strength, last year was featured in American University Magazine.

The FHWA post requires Senate confirmation. The 2,900-person federal agency has a $44 billion annual budget.