Former Arizona state transportation official Victor Mendez has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as administrator of the Federal Highway Administration.

"Victor's lengthy record of delivering major infrastructure projects on time and his enthusiasm for innovative solutions to complex transportation problems make him an excellent addition to the team," said Jeff Paniati, FHWA's executive director, who had been serving as acting administrator since Jan. 20. "His leadership and experience are exactly what the nation's highways need right now."

Mendez, the former director of Arizona's Department of Transportation, begins July 20. He'll face "critical and timely issues in his role as the nation's top federal highway official, including implementing the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the largest new investment in the nation's infrastructure in years, and the reauthorization of the surface transportation law, which will guide federal investment in the nation's network of roads and bridges for years to come," a release said.

At ADOT, Mendez oversaw the construction of the regional freeway system in the Phoenix area that was built six years ahead of schedule.

Mendez started at ADOT in 1985, beginning as a transportation engineer. He worked his way up the agency, becoming deputy director in 1999 and, later, acting director in 2001. He also served as president of the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials in 2007.

"He is an ideal combination of leader, manager and engineer," Paniati said. "America could not ask for a more experienced person to lead this important agency, and we are looking forward to working with him."

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