- The Senate has confirmed two administrators for key transportation agencies: Ronald Batory as administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Raymond Martinez as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- Batory previously served as president and chief operating officer of Consolidated Rail Corporation. Martinez was most recently with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
- "Ron Batory and Ray Martinez are both knowledgeable and experienced in their industries. The confirmation of these two well-qualified individuals will bring critical permanent leadership to these administrations," a Department of Transportation spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive.
Batory and Martinez come to the helm of their respective agencies at a tumultuous time for the freight world.
For Batory, the rail industry has been under scrutiny in light of several recent Amtrak train crashes. In many instances, investigators discovered the crashes could have been prevented had positive train control (PTC) been in place. PTC is an automated safety system which requires installation on both train and track, and companies are facing a congressionally mandated year-end deadline for implementation.
The Trump administration has touted deregulation as its motto; however, with safety a growing concern, regulators may be looking to Batory to quickly and strictly enforce the implementation of PTC.
Meanwhile, Martinez comes to office in the early stages of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. Full enforcement of the ELD mandate will come in April — and that will be another testament to whether the Trump administration will prioritize safety, convenience or deregulation.
"It would be my intention, if confirmed, to first and foremost abide by the law, but also to have an open-door policy and work with all the impacted stakeholders,” Martinez said during an appearance before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
What will be critical in the coming months is that rail and trucking have strong leadership in place, as they handle safety concerns, capacity shortage and crumbling infrastructure — all while carrier demand continues to grow.