Senate confirms Lyft manager for No. 3 post at the Transportation Dept

Senate confirms Lyft manager for No. 3 post at the Transportation Dept
© Getty Images

The Senate on Monday confirmed President Trump’s pick for the No. 3 spot at the Department of Transportation (DOT), despite protests from Democrats representing northeastern states who want the White House to fund rail-and-tunnel projects in their region.

In a 90-7 vote, senators approved the nomination of Derek Kan, a general manager for Lyft, to be undersecretary of transportation for policy at the DOT.

Kan, who has been a member of Amtrak’s board, previously served as a policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump says GOP will support pre-existing condition protections | McConnell defends ObamaCare lawsuit | Dems raise new questions for HHS on child separations Poll finds Dems prioritize health care, GOP picks lower taxes when it's time to vote The Hill's 12:30 Report — Mnuchin won't attend Saudi conference | Pompeo advises giving Saudis 'few more days' to investigate | Trump threatens military action over caravan MORE (R-Ky.). McConnell is married to Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoHillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence Trump administration moves ahead with plans to rewrite self-driving cars rules Transportation Department will 'no longer assume' commercial drivers are human MORE.

Kan was also a presidential management fellow at the Office of Management and Budget.


Trump tapped Kan for the DOT job back in April, but his nomination was held up by a handful of Democrats who demanded assurances from the administration that it will fund the multibillion-dollar Gateway Program, which is overseeing several critical transportation projects in the Northeast Corridor.

The Gateway Program, a top priority for lawmakers in the northeast, would construct a tunnel under the Hudson River and add a platform and station capacity in New York City's Penn Station.

The connection between New Jersey and Penn Station — which moves hundreds of thousands of passengers daily — consists of a pair of 105-year-old tunnels that were in desperate need of repair even before they received additional damage during Superstorm Sandy. The tunnels are expected to be closed in the next decade for at least a year for repairs.

But closing the existing tunnels without the creation of additional tracks would reduce system capacity by 75 percent, which could cause paralyzing traffic jams and harm the regional economy.

New York, New Jersey, Amtrak and the Obama administration had all agreed to help fund the tunnel project.

But supporters of the program have questioned the Trump administration’s commitment to the projects. The DOT withdrew from the program’s board of trustees this summer, and Trump proposed limiting funding for a grant program in a way that would have excluded Gateway.