President Trump has nominated Patrick J. Fuchs and Michelle A. Schultz to serve as Republican members of the Surface Transportation Board.
Schultz is associate general counsel for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which is the light rail mass transit service for the Philadelphia area.
Before joining SEPTA in 2006, she was an attorney serving with a Philadelphia law firm that specialized in bankruptcy law. She is a graduate of Widener University School of Law.
As far as can be gleaned from initial reports, Schultz has no experience in freight transportation. (The STB’s involvement with Amtrak is limited to approving its track agreements with freight lines).
The 30-year-old Fuchs currently serves as a staff member of the Senate Commerce Committee. It was in that capacity that he worked on the STB reform legislation that created his position.
That 2015 law strengthened aspects of the board’s rail rate regulation and expanded the board membership from three to five. However, after the law’s enactment President Obama chose not to nominate additional members.
The current board consists of acting chairman Ann Begeman, a Republican, and vice chairman Deb Miller, a Democrat whose five-year term expired on Dec. 31, 2017, but who continues to serve.
News reports suggest that Trump’s next nomination to the STB will be Democrat Martin Oberman, who is a former Chicago alderman and former chair of Chicago’s Metra commuter rail board.