Senate approves USDOT nominees

President Donald Trump’s nominations for two senior posts at the US Department of Transportation have been confirmed by the Senate; Democrats urge backing for Gateway Program; Port Authority allocates funding for Hudson tunnel

Derek Kan has been confirmed by the Senate to be under secretary of transportation for policy, and Steven Bradbury has been confirmed as USDOT’s general counsel. 

Kan is the general manager for transportation network company Lyft and has also served on the board of Amtrak since 2015.  Earlier in his career, he was a policy advisor to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and chief economist for the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Bradbury is a litigation partner at Dechert, and from 2005 to 2009, he headed the Office of Legal Counsel at the US Department of Justice.

Trump nominated Kan in April, and Bradbury in June.

Reuters has reported that Republicans have accused Democrats of stalling a number of nominees over a dispute over funding for the Gateway Program. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he opposed Kan because of administration roadblocks to the project. “Time is running out and we must quickly build new tunnels,” Schumer said.

A Senate Democratic aide confirmed to Reuters that Democrats were holding up some nominations “because they want assurances from the Transportation Department the Gateway Project will quickly move forward after it’s funded.”

Meanwhile, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) has backed the Gateway passenger rail tunnel projects in a proposed 2018 $3.4bn Capital Budget

PANYNJ  proposes “$17m to support continued planning activities for the Gateway Program, consistent with the Port Authority’s commitment to pay debt service on $2.7bn under its 10-year Capital Plan as part of the bi-state region’s commitment to this critical project”.

The authority is seeking public comment on the proposed 2018 budgets which includes allocations for the advancement of the LaGuardia AirTrain and John F. Kennedy International Airport Vision.