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FRA All Hands: Remarks by Deputy Administrator Heath Hall

Thursday, July 20, 2017

SPEAKER: Heath Hall
SPEAKER'S TITLE: FRA Deputy Administrator
LOCATION: Washington, DC
KEYWORDS: Heath Hall, Deputy Administrator, all hands, town hall,
ABSTRACT: FRA's Deputy Administrator Heath Hall addresses staff at town hall meeting on July 20, 2017.

Remarks by Heath Hall

FRA All Hands

Oklahoma Room

Washington, DC

July 20, 2017


  • Thank you for that very kind introduction, Pat.
  • Pat has a very distinguished career in public service.  He served his country on the frontline while serving in the military and he has spent decades working on behalf of the American people in agencies like the Federal Railroad Administration.
  • He is a tremendous asset to what we have accomplished in the past and what we are going to accomplish in the future. 
  • A little more than two decades ago, I walked through the doors of the Federal Railroad Administration as a very young intern ready to change the world. 
  • What I learned that summer is that FRA stands for what is right.  Innovation.  Safety.  Good Policy.
  • I lived in Southwest Mississippi and trains meant jobs and when the trains stopped the economy did as well. 
  • We went from having more millionaires per capita than anywhere in the United States to becoming one of the poorest counties in the country.
  • My mission in DC was simple.  To try and figure out how to improve our economy through our robust rail system.
  • Well, as an intern, I was assigned to the filing room so there was not much I could do from there.  However, I committed my career to good government and transportation issues that would yield jobs.  Keeping safety top of mind.
  • We are the federal government!  We serve the people of America.  And, believe me when I tell you, they are counting on us.
  • When I became your deputy administrator just more than a month ago, I wanted to immediately accomplish four things:
  1. To visit each one of our regions.  I believe that all of you are on the front line and that much of the work that we do should come to Washington not down from Washington. The trips are now being scheduled and I look forward to seeing each of you.
  2. To work with the Secretary Chao to make sure that rural America would have access to the funds they needed to strengthen their infrastructure.  It is a top priority to Secretary Chao and I am happy to report that soon these communities will recognize the help for which they competed.
  3. To make sure that our staff was hired and ready to go.  With Secretary Chao’s leadership; mission accomplished.  Secretary Chao has just named our new Administrator, I am proud to serve as your Deputy Administrator, our new General Counsel will begin in August, our Director of Government Affairs is already on board and a Special Advisor will begin Monday.
  4. To make sure all of you know what is happening in Washington, DC our team has implemented an internal communications program so you know what is going out of DC. 
  • On the safety side of the house.  We absolutely have the best and brightest on board. 
  • In order of policy, we have accomplished much in the last month:
  1. As I stated before, we are going to obligate $1.5 billion dollars to town, cities and states to improve their infrastructure.  This is a top priority of Secretary Chao’s.  If we do not do this the US economy could lose nearly $10 trillion dollars in GDP in the next 7 years.
  2. Just the other day we issued the draft environmental impact study for the Hudson Tunnel.  The project will create 6,000 jobs and more than $17 billion in total output for the life of the project.
  3. We also just committed several million dollars to phase two of the Moynihan Station.
  • I did not accomplish these important projects.  You did!
  • Thank you for answering the call of public service and thank you for serving the American people with such pride.
  • In conclusion, when I walked through these doors a month ago I noticed that FRA received, in 2012, the best agency for which to work.  I challenge each of us to receive that award again in 2018.  We can do this.  We can do it together.  It is a goal that I have set for all of us.
  • Thank you again for asking me to speak with you today and for the outstanding support you have shown me since I started June 5. 
  • God bless you!