Member Kathryn (Kitty) O’Leary Higgins to Leave NTSB

National Transportation Safety Board Member Kathryn (Kitty) O’Leary Higgins today submitted to President Obama her resignation from the Board, effective August 3.

In her letter to the President, Higgins said, “I have loved the chance to work with incredibly dedicated public servants who are passionate about the challenge of making our highways, airlines, railroads, and waterways safe for everyone.”

Higgins said she is leaving the Board to pursue opportunities in the private sector.

Higgins joined the Board on January 3, 2006. During her tenure at the NTSB, she was the Board Member on scene at several major accident investigations, including the Blue Line derailment in Chicago in July 2006; the May 2008 collision of two light rail trains in Newton, Massachusetts; the August 2008 crash of a firefighters’ helicopter in Weaverville, California, that killed 9; the September 2008 collision of a commuter train with a freight train in Chatsworth, California, that killed 25; and the ditching of a US Airways airliner in the Hudson River in January 2009. She also chaired the Safety Board’s hearing into the fire aboard a motor coach in Wilmer, Texas, that killed 23 elderly patients being evacuated from the path of Hurricane Rita.

Among the government positions Higgins held before coming to the NTSB were Deputy Secretary of Labor, Acting Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts, Vice Chair of the Presidential Commission on U.S. Coast Guard Roles and Missions, and Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary.