FTA Administrator Fernandez Announces Retirement


FTA has announced the retirement of Administrator Nuria Fernandez, effective Feb. 24. Upon her departure, Deputy Administrator Veronica Vanterpool will serve as acting administrator.

Fernandez was named deputy administrator Jan. 20, 2021, upon the inauguration of President Biden, and was later nominated to be administrator. On June 10, 2021, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 15th administrator of FTA—the first woman of color to be confirmed to the position.

During her tenure, Fernandez led the agency in making transformative investments and created policies that made public transportation stronger and safer nationwide, including championing FTA’s successful implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s (BIL) public transportation funding and programs. This included managing an annual mass transit budget that increased from $13 billion in FY21 to $21 billion in FY22 and establishing four new BIL competitive grant programs totaling $2.7 billion over the three years.

Fernandez served as APTA chair from October 2019 to January 2021. Following the announcement of her retirement, APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas issued the following statement:

“Nuria has been a fierce advocate for public transportation during her wide-ranging career in the industry, including her term as APTA chair right before taking the helm at FTA three years ago. Her unwavering dedication to the industry, her vision, and her exemplary leadership at FTA over the past three years proved to be monumental for our industry during a pivotal time of recovery and rebuilding for U.S. transit agencies of all sizes.

Under Nuria’s watch, our industry has benefitted from historic investments and forward-looking policies that are strengthening public transportation and the communities it serves. Nuria embodies excellence, and APTA, our members, and the industry at large would not be where they are today without her stalwart dedication and leadership. We truly appreciate all she has done to grow and strengthen America’s public transportation over the years.”

Prior to joining FTA in 2021, Fernandez was general manager and chief executive officer of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, San Jose, CA. Before that, she served in leadership positions at some of the busiest public transit agencies in the U.S., including chief operating officer of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and senior vice president of design and construction for the Chicago Transit Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. In 1997, President Clinton appointed her to be FTA deputy administrator. She became acting administrator after Gordon Linton stepped down in 1999.