|United States Secretary of Transportation|
Seal of the Department
Flag of the Secretary
|United States Department of Transportation|
|Reports to||President of the United States|
|Appointer||The President |
with Senate advice and consent
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Constituting instrument||49 U.S.C. § 102|
|Formation||October 15, 1966|
|First holder||Alan Stephenson Boyd|
|Deputy||Deputy Secretary of Transportation|
|Salary||Executive Schedule, level I|
The United States secretary of transportation is the head of the United States Department of Transportation, a member of the president's Cabinet, and fourteenth in the presidential line of succession.
The secretary of transportation oversees U.S. Department of Transportation and its thirteen agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Steven G. Bradbury is currently the acting secretary of transportation. Bradbury took the position after former secretary Elaine Chao resigned on January 11, 2021 over the Capitol storming.
On December 15, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he will nominate Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and former 2020 presidential candidate, as Secretary of Transportation in his administration. If confirmed, Buttigieg would be the first openly LGBTQ+ cabinet secretary, as well as the youngest person to serve as Secretary of Transportation.
The post was created on October 15, 1966 by the Department of Transportation Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.The department's mission is "to develop and coordinate policies that will provide an efficient and economical national transportation system, with due regard for need, the environment, and the national defense."
The first secretary of transportation was Alan Stephenson Boyd, nominated to the post by Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson. Ronald Reagan's second secretary of transportation, Elizabeth Dole, was the first female holder, and Mary Peters was the second. Gerald Ford's nominee William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr. was the first African American to serve as transportation secretary, and Federico Peña, serving under Bill Clinton, was the first Hispanic to hold the position, subsequently becoming the secretary of energy. Japanese-American Norman Mineta, who had previously been the secretary of commerce, is the longest-serving secretary, holding the post for over five and a half years,and Andrew Card is the shortest-serving secretary, serving only eleven months. Neil Goldschmidt was the youngest secretary, taking office at age 39, while Norman Mineta was the oldest, retiring at age 74. In April 2008, Mary Peters launched the official blog of the secretary of transportation called "The Fast Lane". On January 23, 2009, the 16th secretary Ray LaHood took office, serving under the administration of Democrat Barack Obama; he had previously been a Republican Congressman from Illinois for fourteen years. The salary of the secretary of transportation is $219,200.
Anthony Foxx was the 17th US secretary of transportation from 2013 to 2017, when Barack Obama was the president. Elaine Chao, who served as the secretary of labor under President George W. Bush, was nominated by Donald Trump on November 29, 2016. On January 31, 2017, the Senate confirmed her appointment by a vote of 93–6. On January 7, 2021, Chao announced her resignation following the Capitol storming, effective January 11.On January 11, 2021 acting Deputy Secretary of Transportaion Steven G. Bradbury filled the vacancy as acting Secretary of Transportation.
Democratic (7) Republican (11)
Denotes acting Secretary of Transportation
Nominee for Secretary of Transportation
|No.||Image||Name||State of residence||Took office||Left office|| President |
|1||Alan S. Boyd||Florida||January 16, 1967||January 20, 1969||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|2||John A. Volpe||Massachusetts||January 22, 1969||February 2, 1973||Richard M. Nixon|
|3||Claude S. Brinegar||California||February 2, 1973||February 1, 1975|
|Gerald R. Ford|
|4||William T. Coleman, Jr.||Pennsylvania||March 7, 1975||January 20, 1977|
|5||Brock Adams||Washington||January 23, 1977||July 20, 1979||Jimmy Carter|
|6||Neil E. Goldschmidt||Oregon||August 15, 1979||January 20, 1981|
|7||Drew Lewis||Pennsylvania||January 23, 1981||February 1, 1983||Ronald Reagan|
|8||Elizabeth H. Dole||Kansas||February 7, 1983||September 30, 1987|
|9||James H. Burnley IV||North Carolina||December 3, 1987||January 20, 1989|
|10||Samuel K. Skinner||Illinois||February 6, 1989||December 13, 1991||George H. W. Bush|
|11||Andrew H. Card||Massachusetts||February 24, 1992||January 20, 1993|
|12||Federico Peña||Colorado||January 21, 1993||February 14, 1997||Bill Clinton|
|13||Rodney E. Slater||Arkansas||February 14, 1997||January 20, 2001|
|14||Norman Y. Mineta||California||January 25, 2001||August 7, 2006||George W. Bush|
|15||Mary E. Peters||Arizona||October 17, 2006||January 20, 2009|
|16||Ray H. LaHood||Illinois||January 23, 2009||July 2, 2013||Barack Obama|
|17||Anthony R. Foxx||North Carolina||July 2, 2013||January 20, 2017|
|–|| Michael Huerta |
|California||January 20, 2017||January 31, 2017||Donald Trump|
|18||Elaine Chao||Kentucky||January 31, 2017||January 11, 2021|
|–|| Steven G. Bradbury |
|Oregon||January 12, 2021||Incumbent|
|–||Pete Buttigieg||Indiana||Nominee||—||Joe Biden|
The line of succession regarding who would act as Secretary of Transportation in the event of a vacancy or incapacitation is as follows:
As of January 2021, there are twelve living former secretaries of transportation (with all secretaries that have served since 1983 still living), the oldest being Norman Mineta (served 2001–2006, born 1931). The most recent secretary of transportation to die was Alan S. Boyd (served 1967–1969, born 1922) on October 18, 2020. The most recently serving secretary of transportation to die was Andrew L. Lewis (served 1981–1983, born 1931), who died on February 10, 2016.
|Name||Term||Date of birth (and age)|
|Neil Goldschmidt||1979–1981||June 16, 1940|
|Elizabeth H. Dole||1983–1987||July 29, 1936|
|James H. Burnley IV||1987–1989||July 30, 1948|
|Samuel K. Skinner||1989–1991||June 10, 1938|
|Andrew Card||1992–1993||May 10, 1947|
|Federico Peña||1993–1997||March 15, 1947|
|Rodney E. Slater||1997–2001||February 23, 1955|
|Norman Mineta||2001–2006||November 12, 1931|
|Mary Peters||2006–2009||December 4, 1948|
|Ray LaHood||2009–2013||December 6, 1945|
|Anthony Foxx||2013–2017||April 30, 1971|
|Elaine Chao||2017–2021||March 26, 1953|
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|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
| Order of Precedence of the United States |
as Secretary of Transportation
as Secretary of Energy
|U.S. presidential line of succession|
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
|14th in line||Succeeded by|
Secretary of Energy