Governor Tom Wolf (D) nominated Yassmin Gramian (seen above) on November 27 to be the next secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Currently the department’s executive deputy secretary, Gramian will replace outgoing PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards, who is slated to become general manager of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority or SEPTA in January.
The governor added that Gramian will assume the role of PennDOT acting secretary effective December 6.
[In the video interview with Transportation TV below, Richards discusses some of her accomplishments during her tenure as PennDOT secretary and the challenges she sees ahead at SEPTA.]
“Yassmin Gramian has proven herself a capable leader and knowledgeable infrastructure planner in her more than 30 years of experience as a project engineer,” Wolf noted in a statement. “Her experience working in PennDOT will allow for a seamless transition of leadership over a department that affects the daily life of millions of Pennsylvanians.”
Gramian is a professional engineer who earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Michigan. She sports more than 30 years of experience in operations, design and management of transportation infrastructure systems, including highway, tolling, bridge, and railroad projects.
Gramian joined PennDOT in June this year after stints with engineering firms WSP and HNTB, among others, overseeing “complex transportation and infrastructure projects” according to her biography – including Philadelphia’s Roosevelt Boulevard multi-modal corridor program, the SEPTA subway concourse improvement project, Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor infrastructure rehabilitation and reconstruction effort, the Port Authority Transit Corporation or PATCO Ben Franklin Bridge Track Rehabilitation project, PennDOT’s Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation US-15 Susquehanna River Bridge reconstruction, and modernization of Philadelphia Airport Terminal F.
Gramian noted in a recent speech that finding alternative sources of transportation funding as well as expanding modal options for Pennsylvanians remain two of the biggest challenges ahead for PennDOT.
“We have to really look into alternative funding and look into alternative ways of providing transportation for the public,” she said. “We are creating a toolbox of options. We want to enhance and strengthen public transit and we really want to provide more alternatives to the public: park and ride, shared rides, and options to use active transportation modes – specifically around our congested [transportation] corridors.”