Government Transportation

Head of Federal Haz-Mat Agency Has Strong Ties to Trucking Industry

How could an obscure agency in Washington D.C. be so unreasonable and hardheaded to risk the public safety of Boston citizens just to save the trucking companies a little money? The answer lies with the person that made that decision, Anne Ferro, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Her background reveals strong ties to the trucking industry. Ferro was recently appointed to her Washington D.C. position after working as CEO and President of the Maryland Motor Truck Association, one of the largest lobbying groups for the trucking companies.

Anne Ferro, Administor, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Anne Ferro, Administor, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Many Boston residents were scratching their heads as they walked out of last week’s public meeting on hazardous material (haz-mat) trucks in the historic North End/Waterfront neighborhood. City and State officials explained how surprised they were when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an unexpected preemptive reversal of the City of Boston’s four-year daytime ban of haz-mat trucks from cutting through the city which also put them on Commercial Street. George Brown, a resident at the meeting, said it sounded like the FMCSA had set a trap for the city.

One of Ms. Ferro’s first decisions when she took control of the FMCSA in November 2009 was to rule with the trucking companies against the City of Boston on this issue. According to BTD’s Tinlin, the agency gave the City only six months to complete what they knew would be an 18-month public safety study, verbally promising the City that extensions would be forthcoming. When those extensions were denied in May 2010, the haz-mat trucks came roaring through the neighborhood. With the help of our elected federal officials, Boston received a 45-day reprieve, but the haz-mat trucks are likely to return on July 1st unless Ms. Ferro changes her opinion on the situation.

During her confirmation hearing in September 2009, Congress questioned her close ties to the trucking industry having come directly from CEO position at the Maryland Motor Truck Association, where she worked for 11 years.

According to, “Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) believes the agency (FMCSA) is “in dire need of reform” and said he is concerned about Ferro’s ties to the trucking industry, referring to Ferro’s current position as president and CEO of the Maryland Motor Truck Association. “How do we assure ourselves that you’ll be an independent safety regulator?” he asked.” (Click this link for the article on the hearing of Ms. Ferro.)

President Barack Obama nominated Ms. Ferro in June 2009 to head the FMCSA, the trucking regulatory body within the U.S. Department of Transportation. Ferro was confirmed in September 2009 and officially took the post on November 16, 2009, the same day the FMSCA ruled against the City of Boston. The post had been vacant since January 2009. According to, the trucking industry applauded Ms. Ferro’s confirmation while the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Public Citizen opposed the nomination.

As CEO and President of the Maryland Motor Transport Association (MMTA), Ms. Ferro represented over 1,000 member trucking companies. From their website:

“MMTA has developed effective programs that keep our members’ operating costs down, influence legislative and regulatory decisions in Annapolis and Washington, … MMTA represents the entire trucking industry.”

Ms. Ferro allegiances are clear from her background in the trucking industry. When Boston citizens wonder why the trucking companies are ruling over their city streets, they need to look no further than the Washington D.C. administrator that came from the industry.

Related post:
North End Haz-Mat Truck Meeting Attracts Record Turnout

2 Replies to “Head of Federal Haz-Mat Agency Has Strong Ties to Trucking Industry

  1. Good shoe-leather reporting Matt! We need to show Ferro that public safety trumps cozy back-scratching. If anybody can do it, it’s North Enders!

Comments are closed.