Secretary of Transportation
Leslie S. Richards
As Secretary of PennDOT, Leslie S. Richards has instituted new strategic directions based upon a policy of sustainable infrastructure investments as well as innovation throughout the department.
She instituted the Transportation Investment Plan, a metric-driven strategic investment approach for the 12 Year Capital Program where progress toward reducing poor bridges and accomplishing more roadway reconstruction in each district and planning region was measured and benchmarked toward statewide goals.
In addition, the secretary announced a $2.1 billion maintenance and system preservation initiative, termed PennDOT Road MaP, to address improved maintenance of the state's 40,000 miles of roads along with an increased emphasis on the interstate system.
She also launched a new initiative, called PennDOT Connects, for the planning and delivery of capital and maintenance projects. This new policy enhances PennDOT's collaboration with local governments and ensures the department's investments consider the mobility needs of communities in project design.
Her vision is a PennDOT with continuing improved efficiencies to meet the funding challenges ahead, a diversified workforce that offers employees fulfilling career opportunities, and a broadened planning and project development process that considers input from all stakeholders reflecting a truly multimodal approach.
In addition, she currently serves as chair of the AASHTO Active Transportation Council. The secretary also serves as chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission as well as chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Public Private Partnership board. The secretary was honored with the 2016 Gold Stevie Awards for Female Innovator of the Year and Female Executive of the Year.
Secretary Richards has extensive leadership experience in the management of transportation projects both in her private-sector work in the planning and engineering fields over the past two decades, as well as in her work in local government. Her private- and public-sector backgrounds give her a unique perspective on understanding stakeholder issues, and on the importance of bringing projects to completion on time and on budget. Secretary Richards is recognized in the public and private sectors for her ability to build consensus in order to find solutions to problems. She was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf on January 20, 2015. She was confirmed to serve another term as Secretary of Transportation on April 8, 2019.
Secretary Richards is a graduate of Brown University, where she concentrated in economics and urban studies. She received a master's of regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania. Secretary Richards is a lifelong Pennsylvania resident. She lives with her husband and three children in Montgomery County.