Kansas’ top transportation official is leaving her job in December to take a position with a national transportation planning and policy group, Gov. Sam Brownback’s office announced Tuesday.
Secretary Deb Miller is the first woman to lead the Kansas Department of Transportation and was the only Cabinet holdover from past Democratic administrations after Brownback, a Republican, took office in January. Miller has been transportation secretary since 2003. Her last day will be Dec. 16.
Miller is joining Cambridge Systematics Inc., headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., as a senior associate but will continue to live in Topeka. The company says on its website that it provides consulting services to private companies, state governments, offices of the U.S. Department of Transportation and international agencies.
“I had to debate on it for a very long time because I really and sincerely love what I’m doing and am nowhere near tired of this job,” Miller told The Associated Press. “It hasn’t run its course for me, but I also think it’d be a great opportunity to do something new.”
Miller will be leaving almost 18 months after legislators enacted a 10-year, $8 billion program of road, bridge, rail and aviation improvements. She called it one of the biggest accomplishments of her tenure and said she’s confident the program has had a good launch.
She also said she’ll miss not being secretary when some projects are completed, such as the last stretch of Kansas 10 linking Lawrence to the Kansas City area and a major rail-trucking hub, also in the Kansas City area.
“I would very much have liked to have been on the other end of the shovel when it was time to break ground for the South Lawrence Trafficway,” she said. “I would like to be holding a pair of scissors when it’s time to clip the ribbon at the new intermodal facility.”
Brownback spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said the governor has no time table for naming a permanent replacement. The secretary manages one of the state’s largest agencies, with a current budget of $1.4 billion and 2,900 employees.