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The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) today announced that Charles A. Zelle, a long-time transportation advocate and businessman, has begun serving as commissioner of MnDOT, which includes managing an annual budget of $2.66 billion.
(Published Jan 15, 2013)
Zelle succeeds Tom Sorel, who resigned as MnDOT commissioner Dec. 1 to become the President and CEO of AAA Minneapolis.
MnDOT is the state’s second largest agency. Its 4,700 employees are responsible for managing and maintaining a statewide, multimodal transportation system that includes aeronautics, highways, motor carriers, ports, public transit and railroads.
Zelle came to MnDOT from Jefferson Lines, an intercity bus company with routes in 13 states. He worked there for more than 20 years, serving as Chair and Chief Executive Officer. He is a Board Member and Chair of the Policy Committee of the American Bus Association in Washington, D.C.
In 2012, Zelle served on the Governor’s Transportation Finance Advisory Committee, which made recommendations on state transportation funding to the governor in December. He also has served on the Executive Committee of the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies and was a founding member of the Itasca Project and co-chair of the project’s Transportation Task Force.
According to MnDOT, Zelle will play no role in managing the daily business of Jefferson Lines, although he will continue to serve as the company’s Chair of the Board of Directors. As commissioner, Zelle will recuse himself from handling any business between MnDOT and Jefferson Lines.
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