Jennifer Mitchell is moving on from her position as Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to join the Federal Railroad Administration in April as Deputy Administrator, DRPT reported on March 11. Jennifer DeBruhl will serve as acting Director starting March 18.
Mitchell, one of Railway Age’s 2018 Women in Rail honorees, will serve with Amit Bose, who on Jan. 12 was confirmed as the 15th Federal Railroad Administrator.
With more than 25 years of transportation industry experience, Mitchell was first appointed as DRPT Director in 2014 and reappointed in 2018. She has led several high-priority transportation initiatives for the commonwealth, including the recent $3.7 billion deal with CSX to construct the Long Bridge and expand passenger rail in Virginia; legislation that provided dedicated funding and governance reforms for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA); new sources of transit funding from High Occupancy Tolling projects in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads; creation of the Metro Safety Commission; developing more rigorous and transparent allocation processes for statewide transit funding; extending passenger rail to Roanoke; and opening the “Pulse” Bus Rapid Transit system in Richmond.
“Jennifer Mitchell has served the commonwealth well over the last eight years, steering it through a number of major initiatives, including dedicated funding to WMATA, extending Amtrak service to Roanoke and the capstone, $3.7 billion Transforming Rail in Virginia [initiative],” Secretary of Transportation W. Sheppard Miller III said. “Jennifer has been a real credit to Virginia, and we wish her well as she moves to this exciting and important position. We look forward to continuing to work with her in the future.”
“It has been a great honor to serve the commonwealth, and I am proud of what this agency has accomplished to improve our public transportation and rail systems,” Mitchell said. “There is still a lot of work to be done, especially as we emerge from the pandemic, and I am pleased that the Governor [Glenn Allen Youngkin] chose Jennifer DeBruhl to steer this agency forward.”
“As excited as I am about Jennifer Mitchell’s opportunity, I am equally excited that we have such a talented professional in Jennifer Debruhl to step into this [DRPT Director] role,” Miller said. “I have known and worked with her for over 10 years and know that she will do an excellent job.”
DeBruhl, who joined DRPT in 2016 as the Chief of Public Transportation, has provided leadership in the evaluation, assistance and execution of a $4.2 billion portfolio of public transportation, commuter assistance and congestion management programs throughout the commonwealth. Prior to joining DRPT, she served at the Virginia Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration.
“I look forward to furthering the innovative work happening at DRPT and addressing the commonwealth’s pressing rail and public transportation needs,” DeBruhl said. “I’m eager to work with everyone at the department and our partner agencies to take on the challenge of getting public transportation back on its feet after the coronavirus pandemic.”