Senate removes Peterson; Gov. appoints Roger Millar as Acting WSDOT Secretary

The State Senate spent Friday, Feb. 8 debating the leadership of Lynn Peterson, the secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation. Peterson had been serving without confirmation since being appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee shortly after he took office in 2013.

The Majority Coalition Caucus in the Senate largely called for Peterson's removal, saying WSDOT needs a "turnaround specialist" who can bring accountability and effectiveness to the agency after problems with I-405 tolling, the Seattle deep-bore tunnel and other mega-projects. After hours of discussion, the Senate voted 25-21 to deny Peterson’s confirmation to her position, ending her tenure after three years.

Gov. Jay Inslee subsequently announced he’s appointed Roger Millar to serve as the Acting Secretary of Transportation for the state Department of Transportation, effective immediately.

Millar, who currently serves as the Deputy Secretary for the Washington State Department of Transportation, brings more than 38 years of experience within the transportation arena. During that time, he has worked in construction, design, planning, research, policy development, management and administration in both the public and private sectors.

“WSDOT is fortunate to have Roger, an accomplished engineer and transportation leader, to step up in this pivotal leadership role. Roger is not only an outstanding manager, he’s committed to furthering the innovative work happening throughout WSDOT,” Inslee said.

Millar has served as public works director, city and county planning director, and vice president of a multi-national engineering firm, among many career highlights. Prior to joining WSDOT, Roger served for five years as vice president of a national not-for-profit organization, providing technical assistance to state transportation agencies in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont.

Millar was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 1999. From 2000 to 2014, he served on the ASCE Committee for America’s Infrastructure, which produces the nationally recognized “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.” Millar has won national, state, and local awards for planning and project delivery. Those awards included the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organization’s National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Metropolitan Transportation Planning and the American Consulting Engineers Council Honor Award.