September 30, 2016 - TRA Exclusive -
Peter Espy, a 40 year transit and passenger/freight rail veteran, has been named Rail Division Director at the Texas Department of Transportation, effective October 1.
Espy holds a Bachelor's degree in economics from Bucknell University and began his career with national passenger network carrier Amtrak in 1974. Espy served as Superintendent of crew management services & overseeing the day-to day operations of all Amtrak trains on the Northeast Corridor. In 1988 as a project manager for LTK Engineering Services he worked on numerous railroad and urban transport operations and engineering projects. In the 90's and into the first several years of 2000 Espy was Chief Executive Officer for a privatized 1,000-mile freight railroad in northern Chile and then General Manager of PeruRail, a 600-mile freight and passenger railroad.
In 2008 he joined Transystems Corporation serving as Vice President responsible for overseeing transit and passenger rail business developments on the West Coast. Next stop was Santiago, Chile where he led business development and projects in the rail and intermodal sector. Recently, Espy served as Principal Consultant for SNC-Lavalin (formerly lnterfleet North America).
He is the third Rail Division Director since the department was formed in 2009. The position had been open since May.
The opening was due to the resignation of the second Rail Division Director since the department was formed in 2009. Erik Steavens, who was hired as Director in 2013, returned to Georgia in May. Steavens, a weekly commuter to his Austin office, was presiding over several freight rail studies and was involved in the Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study Draft which is due out later this year. Bill Glavin, who was the first Director of the Rail Division, was responsible for several passenger rail study grants and secured upgrades for existing services from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration. Glavin was instrumental in the Tower 55 Fort Worth project which resulted in a $100 million overhaul to create more freight throughput. Tower 55 had been described as the worst chokepoint west of the Mississippi River.
The TxDOT website described the position for Rail Division Director as follows: Directs, coordinates and oversees statewide implementation of federal and state funded programs, statewide rail planning activities, project development and environmental studies of rail projects, communication and coordination between rail companies and the department, private/public partnerships for rail projects, management of state owned rail facilities and right of way, and railroad-related joint operations. Directs and oversees funding for railroad work programs. Manages professional, technical and administrative employees. Work requires extensive contact with high-level executives, governmental officials, special interests groups, railroad companies, governmental transportation entities, and private entities. Employees at this level perform work at the highest level of discretion and independent judgment and are responsible for final outcome.