She is also the first Senate-confirmed woman of color to lead the FTA, and the first confirmed administrator in over a decade.
“Administrator Fernandez’s historic confirmation by the U.S. Senate means that we will have excellent leadership in this key part of building a cleaner and more equitable transportation future for Americans,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Over her 35-year career, Nuria has steadfastly served communities across the nation that rely on transit and worked to ensure the safety of the workers who operate these essential services.”
Fernandez previously served as GM and CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, California. Prior to leading VTA, Fernandez served in leadership positions at some of the busiest transit agencies in America, including the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Chicago Transit Authority, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, consecutively.
“I am humbled and extremely grateful for the confidence bestowed upon me by the U.S. Senate, the Biden-Harris Administration, and Secretary Buttigieg,” said FTA Administrator Fernandez. “I am committed to supporting our nation’s public transportation systems and the millions of Americans who depend on the transit services they provide. As we emerge from this pandemic, we have a once in a generation opportunity to build a more sustainable and equitable public transportation future, and I intend to do that in my role as FTA Administrator.”
Fernandez was previously appointed in 1997 by President Bill Clinton as acting administrator of FTA, where she led the agency’s programs, including annual grant funding to local communities for planning, design, and construction of new and expanding rail and bus systems.
She has also served as chair of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) from 2019-2020 and on the boards of the Mineta Transportation Institute, The Transportation Learning Center, and on the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board.