Former DOT General Counsel Thomson to Coordinate Infrastructure Law Implementation

Former DOT General Counsel Thomson to Coordinate Infrastructure Law Implementation

December 17, 2021  | Jeff Davis

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation formally announced that former USDOT General Counsel Katie Thomson is returning to the Department to serve as “Director of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation.”

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes historic investments that will help create jobs, connect people to opportunities, and combat climate change,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The American people placed a lot of trust in the Biden-Harris Administration to deliver on the benefits of this law effectively, efficiently, and responsibly – and that’s exactly what Katie’s focus will be at DOT.”

After a career at the firm of Sidley Austin, Thomson entered the Obama Administration in 2009 (her husband had been the legislative director in Obama’s Senate office) and served as Counselor to Secretary LaHood from 2009-2012, then Chief Counsel of the FAA 2012-2014, then as General Counsel of the whole Department from 2014-2016. During the Trump Interregnum, she has been Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Worldwide Transportation and Sustainability at Amazon.

Thomson’s return continues a “getting the band back together” trend of Obama Administration senior USDOT officials returning to the roost. Consider:

  • Polly Trottenberg – was Under Secretary for Policy, now Deputy Secretary
  • Carlos Monje – was Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, now Under Secretary for Policy
  • Katie Thomson – was General Counsel, now Director of BIL Implementation

News of Thomson’s appointment leaked on the 13th to CBS and others but was not confirmed by USDOT until yesterday. The DOT announcement includes this statement: “This announcement comes after the Biden-Harris Administration announced Mitch Landrieu’s role advising the President on implementation. The administration will continue building out capacity at every level across agencies.”

Specifically, “Thomson’s role will include working with operating modes to stand up new programs and getting hundreds of billions of dollars out to states…She will lead a core team at USDOT to ensure the benefits of the law are delivered on time, on task and on budget for the American people.”

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