Ohio Governor Ted Strickland appointed Jolene Molitoris to be the director of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) upon the retirement of current ODOT Director James Beasley on Jan. 30.
Beasley has served as a member of the governor’s cabinet since February 2007. Prior to joining ODOT, he served nearly 27 years as the Brown County engineer.
Under Beasley’s leadership, ODOT revised its mission to include all modes of travel: highway, rail, waterway, transit, aviation, bicycle and pedestrian. Beasley also worked to cut non-essential spending in the agency and find new efficiencies, saving the department $180 million in fiscal year 2008.
“Jim has made lasting impacts during his time at the Ohio Department of Transportation,” Strickland said. “He has led ODOT in a way that ensured integrity and ethics in the agency, instilled fiscal accountability and restraint, and modernized ODOT to think beyond just the highway system.”
Molitoris is the current ODOT assistant director and will be the first woman to lead the multi-modal agency. Molitoris also currently serves as the chair of the Ohio Rail Development Commission.
“From her work in Washington and Ohio, Jolene is nationally recognized for her leadership in the transportation industry,” Strickland said. “Our continued investment in infrastructure is critical if we want to put Ohioans back to work and stimulate our state’s economic recovery. As ODOT director, Jolene will continue Jim’s dedication to building Ohio’s transportation system for the 21st century and beyond.”
In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Molitoris as the first woman to head the Federal Railroad Administration, where she led agency-wide changes to make significant improvements in safety and customer service. The changes helped result in the seven safest years in U.S. railroad history.
“Building on the achievements of Director Beasley, ODOT will strive to integrate all modes of transportation in this state, giving Ohioans real choices and connecting the investment of state dollars to the creation of new jobs and economic development,” Molitoris said. “As director, I look forward to working closely with our public and private partners to truly transform transportation and move Ohio into a prosperous new world.”