Va. transportation and rail director announces departure
Jennifer Mitchell to take federal position
Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation Director Jennifer Mitchell will leave her post March 18 as she plans to take a new federal government job, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced Friday.
Jennifer DeBruhl, who has served as the department’s chief of public transportation for more than five years, will serve as acting director.
Appointed in 2014 by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Mitchell’s work included helping to extend Amtrak service to Roanoke, as well as a $3.7 billion rail expansion agreement. In April, Mitchell will start as deputy administrator for the Federal Railway Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. She has been recognized as a Woman of the Year by Railway Age and honored by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials as a “Woman Who Moves the Nation.”
“Jennifer has been a real credit to Virginia, and we wish her well as she moves to this exciting and important position,” state Secretary of Transportation W. Sheppard Miller III said of Mitchell in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with her in the future.”
Mitchell said she’s proud of the gains DRPT has made in improving public transportation and rail systems, adding that there “is still a lot of work to be done, especially as we emerge from the pandemic, and I am pleased that the governor chose Jennifer DeBruhl to steer this agency forward.”
In her previous role, DeBruhl assisted in carrying out a $4.2 billion portfolio of public transportation, commuter assistance and congestion management programs throughout the state. Prior to joining DRPT, she worked for the Virginia Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration. Her appointment was made by Youngkin on Miller’s recommendation.
DeBruhl has a bachelor’s degree in urban studies, a master’s in urban and regional planning and a certificate in public management, all from Virginia Commonwealth University.
“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.”