DRPT Director Jennifer Mitchell steps down, Acting named

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March 11, 2022

Secretary of Transportation
Contact: Andrew Wright
Email: andrew.wright@drpt.virginia.gov
Phone: 804-241-0301 

DRPT Director Jennifer Mitchell steps down, Acting named

~ Jennifer DeBruhl, DRPT’s Chief of Public Transportation, will serve as acting director ~

(RICHMOND): Secretary of Transportation W. Sheppard Miller III, announced today that Jennifer Mitchell, Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will step down from the agency effective March 18, 2022. The Governor, upon recommendation of the Secretary, has selected Jennifer DeBruhl, who has been the department’s Chief of Public Transportation for over five years, as the acting director.

“Jennifer Mitchell has served the Commonwealth well over the last eight years, steering it through a number of major initiatives, including dedicated funding to WMATA, extending Amtrak service to Roanoke and the capstone, $3.7 Billion Transforming Rail in Virginia. Jennifer has been a real credit to Virginia and we wish her well as she moves to this exciting and important position. We look forward to continuing to work with her in the future.” Miller said.

In 2020, in recognition of her significant achievements, Mitchell received the Thomas W. Rice award from the Virginians for High Speed Rail, and was named by COMTO as a “Woman Who Moves the Nation”. In 2018, she was named by Railway Age as a Woman of the Year

“It has been a great honor to serve the Commonwealth, and I am proud of what this agency has accomplished to improve our public transportation and rail systems,” Mitchell said. “There is still a lot of work to be done, especially as we emerge from the pandemic, and I am pleased that the Governor chose Jennifer DeBruhl to steer this agency forward.”

Starting in April, Mitchell will start as the Deputy Administrator at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). As a part of the United States Department of Transportation, FRA administers rail funding, provides safety oversight, and studies new improvements and innovations. Mitchell will play a significant role in implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“As excited as I am about Jennifer Mitchell’s opportunity, I am equally excited that we have such a talented professional in Jennifer Debruhl to step into this role.  I have known and worked with her for over 10 years and know that she will do an excellent job,” Miller said.  DeBruhl, who joined DRPT in 2016 as the Chief of Public Transportation, has over 25 years of public service to the transportation community. She has provided leadership in the evaluation, assistance, and execution of a $4.2 billion portfolio of public transportation, commuter assistance, and congestion management programs throughout the Commonwealth. Prior to joining DRPT, DeBruhl served at the Virginia Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration.

DeBruhl has an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies, a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Certificate in Public Management, all from Virginia Commonwealth University.

“I look forward to furthering the innovative work happening at DRPT and addressing the Commonwealth’s pressing rail and public transportation needs,” DeBruhl said. “I’m eager to work with everyone at the department and our partner agencies to take on the challenge of getting public transportation back on its feet after the coronavirus pandemic.”