Ron Batory, the former President and COO at Conrail Inc., was sworn in as the 14th Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration this morning. He issued the following message to the railroad industry.
“This is my first official day on the job as your new Administrator, having been sworn in this morning by Secretary Elaine. L. Chao. Because I’ve worked in the railroad industry for 46 years, I’ve had the chance to work with FRA on countless matters. As many of you know, I have been serving as a senior advisor to the Secretary for several months, pending Senate confirmation of my nomination. During that time, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with our senior leadership and many staff members. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know employees through meetings, emails, discussions, conversations, and events. All these interactions have confirmed my belief that the dedication of the FRA workforce to America’s railroads is our agency’s greatest strength.
We know that rail is an indispensable part of our national transportation system and a driver of economic expansion and development. My goal is to ensure we become even more indispensable. With all of you, I plan to help the public and decision-makers more fully appreciate the value of a robust rail network and all we do to protect and expand it.
I look forward to meeting all of you, including field personnel who work continuously to carry out our vision, mission and goals. I am deeply committed to providing strong leadership and support to help you excel in your jobs. Your work helps FRA perform vital functions, from physical plant inspections of tracks and equipment to issuing and enforcing safe operation and maintenance regulations to managing Federal investments and cutting-edge research to improve rail safety, efficiency, and reliability.
When I retired as president and COO of Conrail, I made a point of keeping abreast of both the challenges and opportunities America’s railroads face. There are many important issues ahead of us, including implementation of positive train control, managing our diverse portfolio of grants in a challenging fiscal environment and performing environmental reviews under NEPA. We will work with our partners in industry, labor, and non-governmental entities to address an expansive set of important public policy issues. In doing so, we will seek to further strengthen America’s critical infrastructure and streamline delivery of rail improvement projects.
I’m impressed by the talent, hard work and passion for rail transportation I find at the FRA. But there is always room for improvements. I look forward to hearing your ideas and learning from your expertise. Together, we will build upon our strengths and work even harder to increase transparency and awareness, promote employee engagement, and ensure program collaboration. I’m confident we will find new ways to deliver programs and services even more effectively. I have no doubt that the FRA will continue to make a significant positive difference for the transportation industry and the American people.
Thank you all for your service, diligence, and contributions. I’m looking forward to working with you. Like you, I believe in the FRA mission to enable the safe, reliable and efficient movement of people and goods for a strong America, now and in the future. Again, it is my great honor to join you as the FRA Administrator.