Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Obama Appoints Former STPP Director For DOT Slot

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer Roy Kienitz, a deputy chief of staff for Governor Rendell, has been nominated as the department's undersecretary for policy.

Kienitz was the former director the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP). STPP's is a diverse, nationwide coalition working to ensure safer communities and smarter transportation choices that enhance the economy, improve public health, promote social equity, and protect the environment. STPP helped shape the policies in TEA-21, and Safety-Lu. They published several reports about infrastructure and pedestrian safety long before the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse.

Kienitz left the organization in 2003 and STPP's influence has waned since, in fact the website was last updated in 2006 and much of the policy work has been taken over by T4 America.

It's hard to say exactly how Kienitz influenced PennDOT policies for bicycling and walking. There were lots of steps taken in the right direction at the Central Office (such as the bike/ped checklist) but it never seemed to trickle down to the District level. The loss of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and assistant B/P Coordinator has further tarnished the DOT's reputation. On the other hand Governor Rendell has become the defacto leader for Infrastructure and Mass Transit improvements.