Anne S. Ferro was sworn in on Nov. 13 as the fourth administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The U.S. Senate on Nov. 6 approved President Obama’s nomination of Ferro. Previously, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Oct. 27 voted on and favorably reported Ferro’s nomination. Ferro succeeds John Hill, who had served since August 2006 and departed in January following the conclusion of the Bush administration. Rose McMurray, the agency’s chief safety officer, had been serving as acting administrator since Obama’s inauguration.
Ferro most recently was head of the Maryland Motor Truck Association and has served on regional advisory committees on freight planning, highway safety and transportation funding. Previously, she was Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administrator from 1997 to 2003, where she is credited with leading the effort to establish a graduated licensing program for new state drivers.
Buzzy France, president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, said Ferro “has an excellent understanding of how government, law enforcement and industry need to work together to solve problems, and will be a great advocate for safety.”
After Obama announced Ferro as his choice last spring, several organizations – the Teamsters Union, the Truck Safety Coalition, Public Citizen and Parents Against Tired Truckers – wrote the president opposing her due to her ties to trucking and her past public support for current hours-of-service regulations. A New York Times editorial called Ferro’s selection a “peculiar choice” for the job
because of her role at MMTA, as well as a letter to The Baltimore Sun that she co-authored in defense of the Bush administration’s hours rules. Coincidentally or not, the Senate committee approved Ferro’s nomination one day after FMCSA agreed to reconsider those regulations (see CCJ Nov. 2009, pages 8, 14).
During Ferro’s Sept. 23 confirmation hearing, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who heads the Commerce Committee’s surface transportation panel, told Ferro that FMCSA is “an agency in dire need of reform” and that he was concerned about her “ability to take the bold action we need to keep
Americans safe.” Ferro described herself as a safety advocate, pointing to her record in Maryland.
FMCSA was established as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation on Jan, 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. The agency employs more than 1,000 individuals.