Building upon Governor Strickland’s commitment to modernizing the state’s multi-modal transportation system, Ohio Department of Transportation Director James Beasley has appointed Jolene Molitoris as assistant director at ODOT.
Molitoris is the current chairwoman of the Ohio Rail Development Commission and former Federal Railroad administrator.
“From her work in Washington and Ohio, Jolene is nationally recognized for her historic leadership in the rail and transportation industries,” said Beasley. “She will be a valuable asset as we better position the state’s transportation spending to balance the movement of people and freight, promote safety and reduce congestion, create jobs, encourage responsible growth, and help build sustainable communities.”
As assistant director, Molitoris will lead several new transportation initiatives at the department, including work with the state’s upcoming 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force. She also will coordinate the department’s effort to implement its 2008-2009 Business Plan, as well as formulate and execute the department’s federal transportation agenda.
Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, Molitoris was the first woman to lead the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), where she led agency-wide changes to make significant safety and customer service improvements. This resulted in the seven safest years in railroad history. Her nearly eight year tenure also was highlighted by her efforts to find public-private partnerships to finance transportation improvements. Because of her achievements, Railway Age named her one of the great 20th Century Railroaders.
At the state level, Molitoris began her career at the Ohio Rail Transportation Authority (ORTA), achieving the position of executive director. During her tenure, Ohio led the nation in state-developed high speed rail planning.
From ORTA, she was appointed deputy director for Rail at ODOT, where she worked with port authorities statewide to create 13 new short line railroads — the most in any state following the deregulation of the railroad industry. This initiative positively affected 220 industries and 40,000 jobs.
In 2007, Strickland appointed Molitoris as chair of the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC), the first woman to lead that organization.
“With Director Beasley and his team, ODOT is fully embracing its new multi-modal mission — with an integrated network of highway, rail, transit, aviation, and waterway,” said Molitoris. “I look forward to working with our transportation partners in Washington and around Ohio to envision Ohio’s 21st Century transportation system and to explore new and innovative tools for funding and financing that system.”