- He currently serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs at the DOT.
President Joe Biden is nominating Pakistani American Mohsin Raza Syed as Assistant Secretary of Government Affairs at the Department of Transportation. Syed currently serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs at the DOT. Syed was appointed to the post on Jan. 21, according to a DOT press release.
“This group will help USDOT civil servants already hard at work on behalf of the American people advance President Biden’s agenda to build our country back better,” said the DOT press release. “With the safety of the traveling public and America’s workers at the center of its mission, the team will work toward economic recovery, racial equity, and combating climate change.”
Syed has previously served for over six years on Capitol Hill, including as the Majority Chief Counsel for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Minority Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security within the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Legislative Counsel for Senator Bill Nelson.
Prior to his work on Capitol Hill, Syed worked as a career Attorney-Advisor within DOT’s Office of the General Counsel, as an attorney in private practice, and as an intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency. Syed received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Virginia. He currently resides in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife and two sons.
Other South Asian Americans appointed to key roles in the DOT in January were Amit Bose, Deputy Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration; Subash Iyer, Chief Counsel, Federal Transit Administration; and Meera Joshi, Deputy Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Prior to joining the DOT, Bose previously worked at HNTB, an architectural and engineering firm, where he also served as board chair of the Coalition for the Northeast Corridor and on the New Jersey Restart and Recovery Advisory Council. He has previously served in the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) as Deputy Administrator, Chief Counsel, Senior Advisor and Director of Governmental Affairs; U.S. Department of Transportation as Associate General Counsel and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs; New Jersey Transit; and New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Before joining the FTA, Iyer was Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk, and Compliance at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), where he served as risk counsel to the largest public transit agency in North America. He was previously an attorney in private practice, where he worked on trial and appellate litigation matters and provided legal and strategic advice to corporate and individual clients on a wide range of issues. He has served as law clerk to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Iyer received his J.D., summa cum laude, from New York University School of Law and his B.A., summa cum laude, from Columbia University. Before law school, he served as policy adviser to Administrator Karen G. Mills of the U.S. Small Business Administration and worked at a large management consulting firm.
Joshi served as a Principal and New York General Manager with the transportation firm Sam Schwartz for the past year. She assumed that post after serving for more than five years as Chair and CEO of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), which licenses and regulates yellow taxi cabs and app-based ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft. Before that role, she served as TLC’s Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs and General Counsel. She previously served as the first Deputy Executive Director of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, the agency tasked with investigating complaints of police misconduct. She also served as an Inspector General for the New York City Department of Investigation and was responsible for overseeing New York City’s Department of Correction, Probation, Juvenile Justice, and the TLC.