Thursday, April 30, 2009

Senate confirms Joe Szabo as FRA chief

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Joe Szabo won Senate confirmation Wednesday to become head of the Federal Railroad Administration.

His longtime friend Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) took the floor to give Szabo a warm endorsement, saying that the fifth-generation railroader and former United Transportation Union officer understands better than most the demanding and sometimes dangerous conditions under which railroad employees work.

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Durbin also said Szabo will bring his enthusiasm for Amtrak to his new job, which in addition to its primary goal of ensuring that railroads are safe will also involve the administration of President Obama's high speed passenger rail initiative.

Szabo will be informally sworn into office May 5 so that he can take over his new duties without delay, with a more formal ceremony to be announced later.