President Biden wants to make Robin Hutcheson the leader of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the White House announced on April 6. Hutcheson, the current deputy administrator, has served as the acting chief of the trucking industry regulator since January.
A former Minneapolis director of public works, Hutcheson was instrumental in Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—which Biden signed into law in November—while serving as a deputy assistant transportation secretary, according to the White House. She is FMCSA’s fourth consecutive acting administrator.
Biden’s previous nominee and acting FMCSA administrator, Meera Joshi, awaited U.S. Senate confirmation when she took a job as a deputy mayor of New York City. FMCSA—the U.S. Department of Transportation’s interstate trucking and busing regulatory agency—has not had a Senate-confirmed leader since Raymond Martinez stepped down in 2019.
Also on April 6, FMCSA opened up the application process for its Truck Leasing Task Force (TLTF), an initiative of the 2021 infrastructure law and part of Biden’s Trucking Action Plan. The TLTF is tasked with evaluating the developing best practices for commercial motor vehicle leases.
“The task force will be instrumental in expanding our understanding of the financial impacts of truck leasing and will reinforce our commitment to quality of life and safety for professional truck drivers,” Hutcheson said. “We ask those who are interested in joining to reach out so we can better support CMV drivers together.”
Hutcheson first joined the Biden administration as deputy assistant transportation secretary for safety policy. According to the White House, she coordinated its COVID-19 response and recovery. Her work on the infrastructure law focused on the new Safe Streets and Roads for All program.
American Trucking Associations leader Chris Spear, on Wednesday, issued a statement calling for Hutcheson's "swift confirmation by the Senate."
ATA's president and CEO said the nominee's "leadership comes at a critical time for the agency, as the pandemic, natural disasters, workforce shortages, and other factors continue to challenge the freight economy in ways never seen before. America’s trucking industry is the backbone of our economy, and we depend on partners in government who value data and stakeholder input to meet real-world needs and ensure the safe movement of freight across our nation’s highways. That’s particularly timely now, as DOT works to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will strengthen highway safety standards while helping our industry meet the nation’s growing freight demands.”
Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, praised Hutcheson's nomination on April 6, noting that she has already “demonstrated a genuine appreciation for the work of our members and an eagerness to help address some of the issues that are most important to them.” Spencer encouraged the Senate to confirm her as FMCSA's administrator.
ATA's Spear also highlighted Hutcheson's "deep experience in transportation administration," which he said makes her prepared to lead FMCSA. "Her commitment to working with our industry to improve safety is unwavering," he added.
Before coming to Washington, Hutcheston was Minneapolis’s public works director, overseeing a staff of 1,100 people across nine divisions that included fleet management, drinking water, surface waters and sewers, solid waste, and recycling. She also was a transportation director in Salt Lake City. The White House also highlighted some of her previous transportation consulting in the western U.S. and Europe. For seven years, she served on the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ board of directors, most recently as president.
She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder and a master’s from the University of Utah.