Federal Highway Administration Chief Counsel rejoins law firm

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and business opportunities in your inbox
Federal Highway Administration Chief Counsel rejoins law firm

Fred Wagner, the former Chief Counsel of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), rejoined Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. (B&D) as a Principal in the firm's Washington, DC office on April 7, 2014.

Mr. Wagner, 52, originally joined the Firm in 1991 and was named a Principal in 2000. In December 2010, he was appointed by President Obama as Chief Counsel of FHWA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). At FHWA, Mr. Wagner led a 60-person legal team with 9 offices around the country. He managed all legal matters concerning the $40 billion Federal-Aid Highway program, including environmental and natural resources issues for highway and multi-modal transportation projects across the U.S.

At B&D, Mr. Wagner's practice will focus on major project and infrastructure development, including environmental reviews, permitting and approvals from a wide range of federal and state natural resources agencies, and litigation defense of project decisions and policies.  He will lead the Firm's Natural Resources & Project Development Practice Group.

Benjamin F. Wilson, Beveridge & Diamond's Managing Principal, said:

"We are thrilled that Fred is rejoining the Firm. His recent experience at FHWA enhances his and the Firm's ability to help private and public sector clients move their infrastructure concepts to successful construction. From transportation, to energy, to mining, to commercial and residential development, Fred has a proven track record of success in a variety of industry sectors."

Mr. Wagner remarked:

"It's great to come back home to B&D. I am grateful for the opportunity to have served at FHWA and I look forward to applying what I learned as a leader at DOT on behalf of clients committed to rebuilding America's infrastructure. There is no better place to practice in this important field than at the country's premier environmental and natural resources law firm."

As FHWA Chief Counsel, Mr. Wagner assisted DOT leadership on the highest priority legislative and regulatory issues, partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in the defense of litigation challenging transportation projects, and led a sophisticated legal office addressing all administrative matters facing FHWA.

Highlights of Mr. Wagner's tenure at FHWA include:

  • Implementing MAP-21, the most recent surface transportation reauthorization bill, by shepherding dozens of significant agency guidance documents and key regulations through the approval process.
  • Leading FHWA's efforts to promote a performance management regime for the Federal-Aid Highway program, including coordination with the Office of Management & Budget on multiple environmental and safety regulations mandated by MAP-21.
  • Serving on the Obama Administration's Transportation Rapid Response Team, a special multi-agency task force focused on project delivery and environmental review reforms.
  • Helping draft and review new proposals for transportation reauthorization as the MAP-21 statute is set to expire on September 30, 2014.
  • Defending major projects in federal court, including projects of national significance like the Ohio River Bridges in Kentucky and Indiana, the Bonner Bridge in North Carolina, the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York, the Birmingham Northern Beltline in Alabama, the Zoo Interchange in Wisconsin, the State Road 520 Bridge and HOV project in Washington, among many others.
  • Resolving project financing challenges on public-private partnerships such as the Presidio Parkway in San Francisco, California and tolling issues on high-profile projects like the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Leading FHWA's efforts to address civil rights challenges, including enforcement of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise regulations, and resolving disputes brought under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
  • Managing FHWA's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program, including all appeals from initial FOIA determinations, and FHWA's  Suspension and Debarment program, aimed at protecting the integrity of the agency's contracting process.

Mr. Wagner's legal career has been split between the firm and public service. Besides his tenure at FHWA, he also served as a Trial Attorney in the Environment Division of DOJ immediately following his graduation from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1987.  He graduated from Tufts University in 1984.

Share this news