National Leader in Transportation to bring Experience, Innovation to ODOT
Director appoints Jolene Molitoris as Assistant Director
COLUMBUS (March 10, 2008) – 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, current chairwoman of the Ohio Rail Development Commission and former Federal Railroad Administrator, to Assistant Director at ODOT, capitalizing on her depth of experience and the innovative efforts she has led in the transportation industry.
“From her work in Washington and Ohio, Jolene is nationally recognized for her historic leadership in the rail and transportation industries,” said Director 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, Ms. Molitoris will lead several new transportation initiatives at the department, including work with the state’s upcoming 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force. She will also 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, Ms. 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. The results included the seven safest years in railroad history. Her nearly eight year tenure was also highlighted by her innovative 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, Ms. 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, Governor Strickland appointed Ms. 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 Ms. 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.”
Ms. Molitoris received her undergraduate degree from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. and her graduate degree from Case Western in Cleveland. Among the awards she has received are the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, The WTS International Woman of the Year, the WTS DC Chapter and Columbus Chapter Woman of the Year, and the Sojourner Truth Award from the White House Women’s Office.
For more information contact Scott Varner, Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640