Texas Department of Transportation Chief Financial Officer James Bass has been named as the interim director of the state agency as the Texas Transportation Commission, the group that oversee's TxDOT, works to find a replacement.
TxDOT executive director Phil Wilson is stepping down and will take a position at the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Wilson was the first TxDOT director to not have an engineering background and Jeff Mosely, chairman of the Transportation Commission, said the new director will likely follow that trend.
"We really were very happy with the management style that Phil Wilson [had]," Mosley said. "He really had the credentials to understand the financial tools that are necessary in today’s world for building highways and mobility. He brought a real sense of business to the agency."
Mosley said unlike like past years they are not using a national search firm and the next director could be one of their own.
"It’s possible, yeah it’s very possible that we have the credentials within our agency so I think the commission is very open," he said.
Professor Jim Henson with the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Politics Project said new TxDOT directors in year's past were put in the hot seat immediately because of difficult problems facing the agency.
"And I think there is some expectation that this next transition will be a bit less fraught than the last few have been because TxDOT is somewhat less in the political crosshairs of so many people," Henson said.
Henson said he also thinks TxDOT’s next director will be someone familiar with policy decisions.
TxDOT will collect applications until the end of January, the agency hopes to hire someone before the March primaries.