WASHINGTON — Frederick "Bud" Wright is expected to become the new executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officers early next year, sources said Tuesday.

Wright, a former executive director of the Federal Highway Administration, is expected to replace John Horsley when he retires from AASHTO in February.

AASHTO has not yet announced the planned transition, but may do so at its annual meeting, which is slated to run Thursday through Monday in Pittsburgh.

Wright joined the FHWA in 1975 as an economist in its office of planning, rising to become the agency's executive director from Nov. 18, 2001 to Jan. 3, 2008, when he retired.

As executive director he oversaw the operation of an agency of 3,000 employees that administered more than $40 billion in federal assistance each year. He supported the administrator and deputy administrator in planning and establishing agency policies, objectives and priorities.

Before becoming executive director, he was the FHWA's program manager for safety for a year and a half. He also served as secretary to AASHTO's standing committee on highway traffic safety.

Prior to that, he was director of the FHWA's office of budget and finance, where he worked extensively on the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)

In 1986, he was chosen for a congressional fellowship, serving with the Senate Appropriations Committee staff. In 1989-1990, he was a member of the National Transportation Policy Team, which developed national transportation policy for then-Transportation Secretary Samuel Skinner.

From 1990 to 1992, Wright was a special assistant to the FHWA's executive director, working on the development of legislative provisions and negotiations with Congress that led to the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.

Wright holds a bachelor's degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va.

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