Shailen Bhatt, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Federal Highway Administration, was confirmed by the Senate as the agency’s 21st administrator in a voice vote Thursday afternoon.
Bhatt, a former state transportation department executive nominated in July, will be tasked with doling out more than $350 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The new administrator brings “a wealth of transportation experience” to the role from the public and private sector, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a news release Friday.
Bhatt previously led the Colorado and Delaware transportation departments, and was a Federal Highway Administration appointee during the Obama Administration. He has also previously worked in the private sector at transportation and infrastructure consulting firm AECOM, and served as CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.
“His leadership will be a tremendous asset as we continue to implement the largest investment in our nation’s roads, bridges and highways in a generation, and we are thrilled to have him on our team,” Buttigieg said.
Bhatt will also be the first person of Indian descent at the top of the agency, according to the Department of Transportation press release.
The Federal Highway Administration provides governments with support for highway construction, maintenance and preservation projects. State departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, tribes, territories and federal land management agencies will be among those vying for federal highway funding through Bhatt’s agency.
“I am honored to return to the U.S. Department of Transportation to lead the Federal Highway Administration as we deliver the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and make transformational investments modernizing our nation’s transportation system,” Bhatt said in a statement.