February 2, 2009
FTA Restores Executive Director Position; FTA Veteran Matthew Welbes Appointed
The appointment of Matthew Welbes as Executive Director of the Federal Transit Administration – the senior-most non-political slot available in the agency – marks the return of a position last held in the early 1980s. Terming this re-establishment “long overdue,” APTA President William W. Millar said: We’re very lucky to have a man we’ve worked with for many years – and one of the top-rated professionals within FTA – in this position.” Millar stressed that having Welbes’ appointment will ensure continuity during a presidential transition or other period of change.
Welbes was previously a senior advisor in the Office of the Administrator; prior to that, he worked in FTA’s Office of Budget and Policy. He began his federal government career in 1992 as a Presidential Management Fellow, serving in FTA offices, the Office of the Secretary, and the Office of Management and Budget. He holds an M.P.A. from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and in 2000 he received a German Marshall Fund fellowship to study transportation, environmental, and land use policies in Europe.
In his new position, he will provide day-to-day administration and operation of the full range of FTA’s responsibilities. This will include working with the administrator and deputy administrator to define the agency’s role, structure, and strategies for the 21st century, representing them as necessary before Congress, at conferences, and in consultation with senior departmental staff; other federal agencies; and state, local, and foreign governments. He will also be responsible for leading the agency’s Executive Management Team in planning and establishing FTA’s program policies, objectives, and priorities.
“Both the industry overall and APTA look forward to working with Matt at this very critical juncture to advance public transportation,” said Millar. “In this time of change, our industry is fortunate to have a man of Welbes’ caliber providing leadership.”