Gov. Rick Scott Monday named Ananth Prasad as secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation.
Prasad will manage the agency and its $7 billion budget, and oversee projects governed by Scott’s infrastructure and job-creation plan.
The Republican governor’s priorities include dredging at various ports to prepare them for bigger ships coming through the widened Panama Canal, as well as highway widening and maintenance projects.
In early March, Scott killed Florida’s high-speed rail project from Tampa to Orlando when he rejected $2.4 billion of federal funding that would have helped pay for it.
Scott then ordered FDOT to take $77 million from its budget to plug a shortfall in the funding plan for a long-planned Port of Miami dredging project.
Prasad has 18 years with the department, where he was assistant secretary for engineering and operations, chief engineer, and director of construction. In the latter post, he implemented various innovative contracting techniques, including public-private partnerships.
He left the agency for two years to become a vice president at HNTB, then returned to FDOT.
Prasad earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering in India and a master’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Florida. He is a member of the Design-Build Institute of America.
Prasad replaces Stephanie Kopelousos, who served as transportation secretary under former Gov. Charlie Crist and oversaw some of Florida’s largest P3 projects. Kopelousos now is the manager of Clay County in northeast Florida.