Department of Transportation Secretary Bhatt Sworn-In by Governor Markell
The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has a new leader, with the swearing-in this morning of Shailen Bhatt. Governor Jack Markell officiated at the ceremony, held in the DelDOT Administration Building in Dover. Members of Secretary Bhatt's family, including his wife Neelam, as well as officials from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) joined DelDOT management for the official event.
Secretary Bhatt was nominated by Governor Markell on May 27, 2011, and was confirmed by the State Senate on June 8, 2011. He becomes the ninth Secretary of the Department of Transportation, and most recently served as Associate Administrator for FHWA in Washington, D.C. In his initial statement upon being nominated, Secretary Bhatt noted that while the department faces challenges, he emphasized that opportunities are also ahead of DelDOT. "An effectively-managed transportation network is of crucial, continuing importance to the future economic and environmental vitality of Delaware. As Secretary, I will challenge the people of DelDOT and our various transportation system stakeholders to work together as a team to overcome the problems of the past while setting a new path for the future," said Secretary Bhatt. "As we move forward, we will make certain our agency operates in a transparent, efficient, and accountable manner. And, we will measure and report to the people of Delaware on our performance in achieving the transportation goals we set together for our state."
Governor Markell said of the new Secretary, "We have in Shailen Bhatt someone with a solid background in transportation at the local, state and federal level. I expect Shailen will look our transportation needs, priorities and fiscal realities squarely in the eye and work with lawmakers, community groups, employees, and stakeholders at all levels to figure out where we need to go and how we can get there while ensuring accountability and transparency in DelDOT's operations and projects. Delawareans expect that government leaders will keep their best interest at heart. They expect someone who will bring that value system to the role of Transportation Secretary; a leader with energy, integrity and experience; someone willing to work hard; take a collaborative approach; someone open to and ready for change who can look for and implement policy and management changes that will make DelDOT the agency we know it can be."
At the Federal Highway Administration, Secretary Bhatt was responsible for setting policy and building relationships with members of Congress. He was a leader in FHWA's efforts to achieve the reauthorization of federal surface transportation legislation by the Congress, and was deeply involved in "Every Day Counts", and Federal Highways initiative on accelerated project delivery. Prior to joining FHWA, Mr. Bhatt was Deputy Executive Director of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. He holds a degree in economics from Western Kentucky University.
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