The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials hosted its 2023 AASHTO Executive Institute March 20-23 in Washington D.C.
[Above photo by AASHTO]
Thirty-one senior state department of transportation executives from around the country attended the four-day program to examine emerging transportation policies and discuss critical transportation issues.
The AEI – formerly the National Transportation Advanced Leadership Institute – focuses on growing participant knowledge and awareness for national transportation issues and trends while building and developing relationships with peers, industry contacts, plus federal administration and Congressional leaders.
Sessions over the four-day AEI course included the strategic benefits of establishing diversity, equity, and inclusion or DEI programs; creating a culture of success at state transportation agencies; working in a political environment; understanding and fulfilling federal transportation obligations; and building trust with stakeholders through communication.
Notable federal officials who spoke as part of the AEI program included Shailen Bhatt, administrator of the Federal Highway Administration; Gloria Shepherd, executive director of the FHWA; Matthew Welbes, executive director of the Federal Transit Administration; and Michael Lestingi, executive director of the Federal Railroad Administration.
They discussed agency priorities and partnership goals with the gathered executives, as well as the crucial role played by state DOTs on implementing the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in November 2021.
AEI participants also sat down with key Congressional staffers to get an inside look at how transportation legislation and funding measures are crafted and debated on Capitol Hill.
Several current state DOT CEOs also made presentations to the 2023 AEI program participants, including:
- Roger Millar, secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation and current AASHTO president.
- Carlos Braceras, executive director of the Utah Department of Transportation and a former AASHTO president.
- Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
- Everett Lott, director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Transportation.