United States Secretary of Transportation

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United States Secretary of Transportation
Seal of the United States Department of Transportation.svg
Seal of the Department
Flag of the United States Secretary of Transportation.svg
Flag of the Secretary
Steven G. Bradbury official photo.jpg
Steven G. Bradbury

since January 12, 2021
United States Department of Transportation
Style Mr. Secretary
The Honorable
Member of Cabinet
Reports to President of the United States
Seat Washington, D.C.
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument 49 U.S.C.   § 102
FormationOctober 15, 1966
(54 years ago)
First holder Alan Stephenson Boyd
Succession Fourteenth [1]
Deputy Deputy Secretary of Transportation
Salary Executive Schedule, level I
Website www.transportation.gov

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. [1]


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. [2]

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. [2] 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." [2]

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, [2] 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. [3] In April 2008, Mary Peters launched the official blog of the secretary of transportation called "The Fast Lane". [4] 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. [5] The salary of the secretary of transportation is $219,200. [6] [7]

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. [8] On January 11, 2021 acting Deputy Secretary of Transportaion Steven G. Bradbury filled the vacancy as acting Secretary of Transportation.

List of secretaries of transportation


   Democratic (7)    Republican (11)


  Denotes acting Secretary of Transportation

  Nominee for Secretary of Transportation

No.ImageNameState of residenceTook officeLeft office President
serving under
1 Alan stephenson boyd.jpg Alan S. Boyd Florida January 16, 1967January 20, 1969 Lyndon B. Johnson
2 Volpe.gif John A. Volpe Massachusetts January 22, 1969February 2, 1973 Richard M. Nixon
3 Claude S. Brinegar official photo (cropped).jpg Claude S. Brinegar California February 2, 1973February 1, 1975
Gerald R. Ford
4 William thaddeus coleman.jpg William T. Coleman, Jr. Pennsylvania March 7, 1975January 20, 1977
5 Brock Adams.jpg Brock Adams Washington January 23, 1977July 20, 1979 Jimmy Carter
6 Neil Goldschmidt.jpg Neil E. Goldschmidt Oregon August 15, 1979January 20, 1981
7 Drew lewis.jpg Drew Lewis Pennsylvania January 23, 1981February 1, 1983 Ronald Reagan
8 ElizabethDole.jpg Elizabeth H. Dole Kansas February 7, 1983September 30, 1987
9 James burnley IV.jpg James H. Burnley IV North Carolina December 3, 1987January 20, 1989
10 Samuel Knox Skinner.jpg Samuel K. Skinner Illinois February 6, 1989December 13, 1991 George H. W. Bush
11 Andrew Card award crop.jpg Andrew H. Card Massachusetts February 24, 1992January 20, 1993
12 Federico pena.jpg Federico Peña Colorado January 21, 1993February 14, 1997 Bill Clinton
13 Slater rodney.jpg Rodney E. Slater Arkansas February 14, 1997January 20, 2001
14 Norman Mineta, official portrait, DOT.jpg Norman Y. Mineta California January 25, 2001August 7, 2006 George W. Bush
15 Mary Peters official DOT portrait.jpg Mary E. Peters Arizona October 17, 2006January 20, 2009
16 Ray LaHood official DOT portrait.jpg Ray H. LaHood Illinois January 23, 2009July 2, 2013 Barack Obama
17 Anthony Foxx official portrait.jpg Anthony R. Foxx North Carolina July 2, 2013January 20, 2017
Michael Huerta official picture.jpg Michael Huerta
California January 20, 2017January 31, 2017 Donald Trump
18 Elaine Chao official portrait 2 (cropped).jpg Elaine Chao Kentucky January 31, 2017January 11, 2021
Steven G. Bradbury official photo.jpg Steven G. Bradbury
Oregon January 12, 2021Incumbent
Pete Buttigieg by Gage Skidmore.jpg Pete Buttigieg Indiana Nominee Joe Biden

Line of succession

The line of succession regarding who would act as Secretary of Transportation in the event of a vacancy or incapacitation is as follows: [9]

  1. Deputy Secretary of Transportation
  2. Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy
  3. General Counsel
  4. Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs
  5. Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy
  6. Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs
  7. Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs
  8. Assistant Secretary for Administration
  9. Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration
  10. Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration
  11. Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  12. Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration
  13. Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration
  14. Administrator of the Maritime Administration
  15. Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
  16. Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  17. Administrator of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration
  18. Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
  19. Regional Administrator, Southern Region, Federal Aviation Administration
  20. Director, Resource Center, Lakewood, Colorado, Federal Highway Administration
  21. Regional Administrator, Northwest Mountain Region, Federal Aviation Administration

Living former secretaries of transportation

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.

NameTermDate of birth (and age)
Neil Goldschmidt 1979–1981June 16, 1940 (age 80)
Elizabeth H. Dole 1983–1987July 29, 1936 (age 84)
James H. Burnley IV 1987–1989July 30, 1948 (age 72)
Samuel K. Skinner 1989–1991June 10, 1938 (age 82)
Andrew Card 1992–1993May 10, 1947 (age 73)
Federico Peña 1993–1997March 15, 1947 (age 73)
Rodney E. Slater 1997–2001February 23, 1955 (age 65)
Norman Mineta 2001–2006November 12, 1931 (age 89)
Mary Peters 2006–2009December 4, 1948 (age 72)
Ray LaHood 2009–2013December 6, 1945 (age 75)
Anthony Foxx 2013–2017April 30, 1971 (age 49)
Elaine Chao 2017–2021March 26, 1953 (age 67)

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  1. 1 2 3 U.S.C.   § 19 : Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Grinder, R. Dale. "The United States Department of Transportation: A Brief History". U.S. Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on July 17, 2004. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
  3. "Biographical Sketches of the Secretaries of Transportation". U.S. Department of Transportation. August 14, 2009. Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  4. "A Chronology of Dates Significant in the Background, History and Development of the Department of Transportation". U.S. Department of Transportation. August 14, 2009. Archived from the original on February 15, 2008. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  5. "Ray LaHood—Secretary of Transportation". U.S. Department of Transportation. July 22, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  6. (PDF) https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/salary-tables/pdf/2020/EX.pdf.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. 5 U.S.C.   § 5312 : Positions at level I.
  8. Elaine Chao to resign as transportation secretary in wake of riot
  9. Obama, Barack (January 14, 2009). "Executive Order 13485: Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of Transportation". NASA Online Directives Information System. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Ben Carson
as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Transportation
Succeeded by
Dan Brouillette
as Secretary of Energy
U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Ben Carson
14th in lineSucceeded by
Secretary of Energy
Dan Brouillette