The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials this week elected a new president to emphasize transportation safety and funding.

The board of directors of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials elected Missouri Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna to serve as its 2019-2020 president. The board also elected New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan as the organization’s vice president — only the second woman in the association’s 105-year history to serve in that capacity.

“I am thrilled and honored to be elected AASHTO’s president at a critical time for transportation investment and innovation in America,” McKenna said. “Transportation technologies – such as drones, smart cars, and autonomous vehicles – are evolving fast and our member departments of transportation are playing a critical role in the development of those life-changing innovations. Success will depend on a strong state and federal partnership that includes the creation of sensible transportation policies plus robust federal funding that allows states to maintain the highways and bridges of today as we design the transportation infrastructure of tomorrow.”  

Prior to today’s election, McKenna served as AASHTO’s 2018-2019 vice president. As president, he plans to emphasize the need for surface transportation reauthorization and to highlight transportation safety.

“AASHTO and its members must fully embrace the challenge of passing a long-term transportation bill before the FAST Act expires in September 2020,” McKenna noted. “Short-term extensions cause unnecessary disruptions and delays to critical projects that impact the safety and mobility of Americans. As AASHTO’s president, I will also focus on safety because I find it unacceptable that more than 34,000 lives are lost each year due to traffic crashes.”  

McKenna, who also served as president of the Mid America Association of Transportation Officials for 2017-2018, is a member of the executive committee for the National Academy of Science’s Transportation Research Board. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Bentley College and a Master of Science degree in management and finance from the University of Maryland University College. A native of New Hampshire, McKenna and his wife Suzanne live in Jefferson, Missouri, and have three children.

Sheehan, elected as AASHTO’s 2019-2020 vice president, was sworn in as the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation on Oct. 19, 2015. Commissioner Sheehan, originally from Ireland, has a Master's Degree in Structural Engineering and Architecture from the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. Sheehan lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, with her husband Sean.