DC’s top transportation official gets Biden White House position

Jeff Marootian, director of District Department of Transportation, greets Kevin Mills, senior vice president of policy at Rails-to-Trails, at the U. S. Capitol  on Tuesday May 8, 2019 in Washington. (Eric Kayne/AP Images for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy)

The head of D.C.’s Department of Transportation is headed to the White House.

Jeff Marootian, who has led DDOT under D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser since 2017, will work in the Presidential Personnel Office as a special assistant to the president for climate and science agency personnel, according to a news release announcing the appointment from the transition team for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Marootian is currently serving as a volunteer adviser for the Biden-Harris transition team.

As DDOT director, Marootian was tasked with overseeing the District’s ambitious “Vision Zero” plan that aimed to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024 through improved road infrastructure and safety improvements at crash-prone areas.

He had a hand in nearly every other transportation-related issue in D.C., including clearing up more of the city’s notorious potholes, creating dedicated bus lanes along key commuter routes and managing the program that brought now-ubiquitous dockless scooters and e-bikes to D.C.

This won’t be Marootian’s first administration job.

Before joining the D.C. government, Marootian served in the administration of President Barack Obama, including as White House liaison and assistant secretary for administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation. In those roles, he helped launch the administration’s “Smart Cities Challenge” and oversaw the department’s business operations and workforce development efforts.

He also was the department’s chief sustainability officer.

Marootian served as the director of LGBTQ Outreach at the Democratic National Committee during the 2012 Obama-Biden reelection campaign. Originally from New Jersey, he is a graduate of George Washington University.

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