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Martin Klepper to head DOT’s Build America Bureau

Klepper joins the transportation financing agency at a time when incoming president Donald Trump plans to increase infrastructure investing.

Outgoing US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has made Martin Klepper the first permanent executive director of the Build America Bureau.

Klepper, whose background is in private sector infrastructure financing, replaces the acting executive director Andrew Right. Klepper previously worked as a senior partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, specialising in energy and infrastructure projects. He was involved in all parts of a project’s lifespan, from development to exits, in the US and abroad.

“We are pleased to have someone with Martin’s significant experience and expertise at the helm of the Bureau,” Foxx said. “Under his leadership, the bureau will be a driving force in financing transportation projects across the country.”

The Build America Bureau is an initiative included in the last multi-year surface transportation legislation Congress passed in December 2015. It officially launched last July with a goal to “drive transportation infrastructure development projects in the United States by streamlining credit opportunities and grants more quickly and transparently”, Foxx said in a statement at the time.

Created to increase access to federal infrastructure loans, the bureau provides public and private sector access to various credit programmes including the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing programme and the Private Activity Bonds. It also administers the $800 million FASTLANE shipping and transportation grant progamme.

Klepper’s tenure begins in the midst of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition to office, and the new executive director will soon answer to Trump’s pick to head the Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao. Chao previously served as the deputy secretary of transportation under President George HW Bush from 1989 to 1991.

Increasing the US’s investment in infrastructure was a highlight of Trump’s presidential campaign, promising to invest up to $1 trillion in projects over 10 years. Drawing in private sector participation to the US infrastructure sector could heighten the role the Build America Bureau plays in providing loans for projects.