Gov. Maura Healey’s top transportation official is stepping down in two weeks after only eight months on the job, being replaced on a temporary basis by her deputy.

Transportation Secretary Gina Fiandaca will be stepping down from her position effective Sept. 11, administration spokesperson Karissa Hand said in an email. No reason was given for Fiandaca’s departure, which comes as a range of high-profile transportation projects are gearing up or are in full swing.

“Lieutenant Governor Driscoll and I are grateful for Gina’s leadership at the Department of Transportation. She came to our administration with over four decades of experience in transportation and a proven track record of getting things done. She hit the ground running and has delivered on many of our key transportation priorities,” Healey said in a statement. “We are confident that the Department of Transportation will be in good hands and well-positioned to continue this important work with Monica Tibbits-Nutt as Acting Secretary, as she has a deep knowledge of our transportation system and a commitment to public engagement and equity. We thank Gina for all her work on behalf of the Healey-Driscoll Administration, for her willingness to be available to continue to assist us through the end of the year, and we wish her well in all of her future endeavors.”

In addition to sitting on the MBTA’s newly-reconstituted board as it and T General Manager Phil Eng try to repair that transit system, Fiandaca’s department has also been grappling with trying to iron out serious production problems at the Springfield factory producing the T’s next generation of Red Line and Orange Line trains, repairing Boston’s cross-harbor Sumner Tunnel, planning for a short extension of the MBTA’s Blue Line and pursuing major federal infrastructure grants for projects like the Sagamore Bridge replacement and a multi-billion-dollar rebuild of the Mass. Pike in Allston to add transit service and enable a huge, 85-acre development planned by Harvard University.

“I am grateful for the trust Governor Healey placed in me that led to significant progress in virtually every facet of transportation in the Commonwealth,” Fiandaca said in a statement provided by Healey’s office. “Together, we have hired new leadership at the MBTA, implemented the Work and Family Mobility Act, reached approximately the half-way point with the Sumner Tunnel Restoration Project and helped drivers ‘ditch the drive’, and led efforts to obtain more than 2 billion dollars in federal funding.  In all of these areas and many others, the Governor’s leadership was the driving force of our success.  I know I am leaving the department in capable hands with Monica Tibbits-Nutt as Acting Secretary and with an Administration dedicated to addressing our transportation challenges by putting people first and a workforce ready to carry on this work. I wish the Healey-Driscoll Administration continued success.”

Tibbits-Nut, long a star in local transit advocacy and planning circles, is the former director of the 128 Business Council, which provides private transit shuttles for many real estate developments along the Route 128 corridor, and vice-chair of the Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB) that oversaw the MBTA from 2015 to 2021. As undersecretary, Tibbits-Nutt oversees MassDOT’s public transit division, its Aeronautics Division and its Office of Transportation Planning and, Hand said, “is also in the process of standing up the first-ever Office of Transportation and Climate Planning and Policy as a shared service responsible for setting operational standards for both MassDOT and MBTA.”

Stacy Thompson, executive director of the transit advocacy group LivableStreets, said the state’s big transportation projects aren’t likely to suffer disruption from Fiandaca’s departure, in part because she and Tibbits-Nutt started their jobs the day Healey was inaugurated, and partly because of the deep bench of hires Healey has built up.

“The most important thing is that we have an experienced highway administrator who’ll get us through snow season, you’ve got Monica and you’ve got Tom Glynn chairing the T board. There is a big team already onboard,” Thompson said.

Business-backed advocacy group A Better City credited Fiandaca with several wins in her relatively short tenure.

“During her tenure, Secretary Fiandaca built a strong foundation for getting the MBTA back on track and for building a transportation system to meet future demands. Major wins include prioritizing safety initiatives, hiring an impressive slate of senior leadership, negotiating a bus operator contract that has already increased job applications by 356 percent, managing the Sumner Tunnel closure and unprecedented suite of public transit alternatives through the #DitchTheDrive campaign, and developing competitive federal funding applications for the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project, Cape bridges, and more,” A Better City President & CEO Kate Dineen said in a statement. “We wish Secretary Fiandaca all the best in her future endeavors and look forward to working with Acting Secretary Tibbits-Nutt, a seasoned transportation leader and longtime partner and collaborator, in building a more reliable, accessible, and world-class transportation system for our Commonwealth.”

MassDOT Secretary Fiandaca Leaving After Eight Months

by James Sanna time to read: 3 min