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Biden taps Polly Trottenberg for transportation role

Former NYC transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg has been named deputy secretary of transportation by President-elect Joe Biden.

Trottenberg is one of five women Biden named today (Monday) as deputy secretaries.

Other administration posts announced today include Elizabeth Klein, Deputy Secretary of the Interior; Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Andrea Palm, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services; Cindy Marten, Deputy Secretary of Education; Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); and Gary Gensler, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

President-elect Joe Biden said, “Our administration will hit the ground running to deliver immediate, urgent relief to Americans; confront the overlapping crises of COVID-19, the historic economic downturn, systemic racism and inequality, and the climate crisis; and get this government working for the people it serves. These tireless public servants will be a key part of our agenda to build back better — and I am confident they will help make meaningful change and move our country forward.”

Trottenberg is a nationally recognized transportation leader with federal, state, and city experience. She previously served in the Obama-Biden administration as the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy and Under Secretary for Policy at USDOT.

For the last seven years, she has served as New York City’s Transportation Commissioner, running a 5,800-person agency that operates New York City’s transportation network of roadways, bridges, traffic and parking systems, the Staten Island Ferry, and extensive bicycle, pedestrian and public plaza infrastructure.

Trottenberg helped implement the nation’s first Vision Zero program and was focused on improving transportation equity and access, including implementation of the 14th St. Busway. She led NYCDOT’s COVID-19 response and recovery, transforming city streets to promote sustainable transportation and economic recovery, including one of the largest outdoor restaurant programs in the country.

Trottenberg has extensive legislative experience, serving three U.S. senators – Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. She received her bachelor’s degree in History from Barnard College and her Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Carlo A. Scissura, President & CEO of the New York Building Congress, said he was thrilled by Trottenberg’s appointment.


“Having worked alongside her for years, we know the expertise and leadership she brings to this position at a time when infrastructure must be a top priority for our country; especially, as we face the long road to recovery,” said Scissura. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with her in Washington, D.C. in support of critical projects and initiatives, from congestion pricing to the BQE and finally moving the Gateway Tunnel forward. Congratulations Polly.”

Biden’s Secretary of the Interior pick, Elizabeth Klein was Deputy Director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law, which supports state attorneys general in defending our nation’s environmental values.

She served at the Department of the Interior during both the Clinton and Obama-Biden administrations, advancing high-priority initiatives such as Interior’s renewable energy program and climate change adaptation efforts.

She was previously an attorney at Latham & Watkins specializing in energy and environmental law issues and served as Director of Communications and Government Relations for the National Park Foundation prior to becoming an attorney.

Klein graduated with a degree in economics from the George Washington University and received her JD from American University’s Washington College of Law.

Daughter of a former Navy Commander, Klein has roots in Delaware and Massachusetts, among other places, and now calls Virginia home where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

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