Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Ex-state official tabbed for federal highways job

President Barack Obama has nominated Arizona’s most recent transportation chief to run the Federal Highway Administration, the White House announced Thursday.

Victor M. Mendez served as director of the Arizona Department of Transportation under Gov. Janet Napolitano until February, when Napolitano was confirmed as U.S. Homeland Security Secretary.

If confirmed, Mendez would oversee the agency responsible for directing federal gas tax money, overseeing major projects on the interstate system and setting highway construction and safety standards.

It is a senior position in the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The White House credited Mendez for having extensive transportation experience and for innovation in funding, technology, infrastructure, research, planning and internal operations.

Mendez has served as a past president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

In 2008 he was selected as Leader of the Year in Public Policy in Transportation by the Arizona Capitol Times.

Previously, Mendez was selected as the deputy state engineer to lead the implementation of the Phoenix area’s multi-billion dollar freeway system.

Mendez earned a master’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University.

He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso.

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