Wyoming’s Cox Takes Presidency; Iowa’s Trombino Elected Vice President

AASHTO Journal, 26 November 2014

AASHTO President John Cox.

The AASHTO board of directors – made up of transportation department chief executives from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – elected Wyoming Department of Transportation Director John Cox as the association’s president for the year ahead and Iowa DOT Director Paul Trombino III as vice president.

The actions came Nov. 24 at AASHTO’s annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C.

In his remarks accepting the association’s top post, Cox noted that AASHTO is celebrating its centennial year and said “AASHTO has been there from the beginning, providing leadership to build the national transportation system we rely on today.”

However, Cox said: “As we enter our second century, AASHTO’s work is far from over. The nation’s aging transportation systems need to be maintained and modernized and that’s going to require greater investment.”

He listed two policy areas for AASHTO that he will emphasize as president – working with Congress and other groups to advance a multi-year Highway Trust Fund reauthorization that closely reflects AASHTO’s policy objectives, and continuing efforts at the federal level to enhance state authority and limit federal regulation of state DOTs.

Cox said it will take a strong effort to build support for a surface transportation bill along lines that AASHTO favors. “Gaining passage of this essential piece of legislation cannot be accomplished by AASHTO alone,” he said. “Just as we’ve done in the past, the transportation community must work together with members of Congress and the American people to build consensus behind legislative proposals that can and must be enacted into law.”

Cox’s second emphasis area will be to continue efforts, by AASHTO members as well as staff, to enhance state decision-making authority and limit federal regulation.

He said while state officials share federal goals of wanting transportation systems to be safe and well-built, AASHTO members want to address federal concerns “in a way that makes sense in our states and allows us to efficiently pursue important transportation investments.”

Cox told the board he hopes AASHTO can continue to review proposed legislation and regulations with an eye to areas where officials have a chance to persuade federal decision-makers “to defer to the good judgment of states.” He said when they identify such areas staff and members will also need to “provide the educational support that can result in federal decisions to defer to states.”

AASHTO Vice President Paul Trombino III.

Cox has been director of the Wyoming DOT since January 2005. He was intially appointed to the position by former Gov. Dave Freudenthal, and was reappointed in February 2011 by current Gov. Matt Mead.

Before 2005, Cox had been administrator of the Wyoming Highway Patrol nearly seven years. He worked for 28 years in law enforcement, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration.

Trombino, the new AASHTO vice president, was appointed director of Iowa DOT in May 2011. Before that he worked for 17 years at the Wisconsin DOT where his positions included director of the Bureau of Transit, Local Roads, Rails and Harbors.

Trombino also spent four years in the finance and banking industry in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Trombino earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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