Mary Peters (politician)

For the diplomat, see Mary Ann Peters.
Mary Peters
United States Secretary of Transportation
In office
October 17, 2006  January 20, 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Maria Cino (Acting)
Succeeded by Ray LaHood
Personal details
Born (1948-12-04) December 4, 1948
Peoria, Arizona, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Phoenix

Mary E. Peters (born December 4, 1948) served as the United States Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush from 2006 to 2009. She is the second woman to hold the position after Elizabeth Dole.[1]


Early life

Peters was born in Peoria, Arizona. She attended the University of Phoenix for her BA.

Public service career

Peters joined the Arizona Department of Transportation in 1985, and was appointed by Gov. Jane Dee Hull to serve as its director in 1998.[2]

After George W. Bush took office as president in 2001, Peters left for Washington to work as the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. She worked in that capacity until 2005.[2]

In 2006, President Bush appointed Peters as the Co-Vice Chairwoman of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission.[3] She resigned the post of Secretary of Transportation in anticipation of the in-coming Obama administration. She was succeeded by Ray LaHood, the 16th U.S. Secretary of Transportation on Thursday, January 22, 2009.

Arizona gubernatorial election speculation

In 2005, there was speculation that Peters would run for governor of Arizona in 2006. At the time, however, she said, while she believed she would have been a strong candidate, and was eligible to run despite having lived and registered to vote in Virginia, that questions about her eligibility would have been a distraction from the race.[4][5] She was also a speculated candidate for governor in 2010, but instead served as co-chair of incumbent governor Jan Brewer's election campaign (along with former state Attorney General Grant Woods). Peters is a transportation consultant for national engineering and planning organizations.

Transportation Secretary

Mary Peters being sworn in as the Secretary of Transportation by White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten on October 17, 2006

On September 5, 2006, Bush nominated Peters to replace Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.[6] She was confirmed on September 29, 2006 by the United States Senate.[7][8]


Peters is an advocate of leasing U.S. roads and interstates to private companies and having user fees (i.e., tolls) for building new highways. In an interview, Peters said that the National Highway System will run out of money by decade's end without substantial changes and, rather than raise taxes, some states should turn to toll roads leased to private corporations to fill gaps.[9]

Her policies of promoting open borders for commerce created opposition from labor unions.[10]

Mary Peters held a press conference on September 5, 2008 to report that Highway Trust Fund payments to states, including her native Arizona, would be cut back because federal fuel tax collections were dropping.


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Political offices
Preceded by
Maria Cino
United States Secretary of Transportation
Succeeded by
Ray LaHood
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