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The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to consider the nomination of Joel Szabat to become undersecretary of transportation for policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Szabat, currently carrying out the undersecretary’s duties in an acting capacity, told senators last month the department’s next version of autonomous vehicle guidance would be released later this year. He also touted the department’s focus on upgrading rural freight and commuter corridors.

Szabat also emphasized the significance of approving long-term policy measures as they relate to highway and freight programs.

Joel Szabat


“Longer authorizations provide more certainty to local governments and drive down construction costs,” he said.

During the pandemic, Szabat was appointed to the White House coronavirus task force. “Nobody yet knows what the ‘new normal’ will be, when the threat of the coronavirus recedes,” he said.

The Senate panel, which has jurisdiction over trucking policy, will meet July 22 to take up the nomination. Approval in committee would advance the nomination to the floor of the chamber.

Last year, Szabat was confirmed by the Senate to the position of assistant secretary-aviation and international affairs. He was executive director of the Maritime Administration from 2011 to 2018.

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