WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said Thursday that President Donald Trump plans to nominate a Lyft Inc executive as under secretary of transportation for policy.
Derek Kan is general manager for San Francisco-based ride services company Lyft in Southern California. He previously was policy adviser to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, the husband of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The announcement comes after Chao said in late February she was reviewing self-driving vehicle guidance issued by the Obama administration.
The guidelines, which were issued in September, call on automakers to voluntarily submit details of self-driving vehicle systems to regulators in a 15-point “safety assessment.” Automakers have raised numerous concerns about the guidance, including that it requires them to turn over significant data, could delay testing by months and lead to states making the voluntary guidelines mandatory.
Reuters reported on Thursday that Lyft Inc has nearly completed a funding round of at least $500 million, valuing the company at $7.5 billion, according to a source close to the company. The $7.5 billion valuation marks a sharp increase from the $5.5 billion valuation at Lyft’s last financing more than a year ago.
Kan also serves on the board of Amtrak and has worked at a Silicon Valley start-up and Bain & Company.
Reuters reported in February that General Motors Co’s plans to deploy thousands of self-driving electric cars in test fleets in partnership with Lyft, beginning in 2018, citing two sources familiar with the automaker’s plans. GM is an investor in Lyft.
Kan will offer policy guidance as the department faces a number of big decisions at the agency.
The White House is still looking to fill many key transportation posts, including a head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Transportation Department regulates the nation’s vehicles, airplanes, railroads, pipelines, ports and highways - including whether to allow the use of small unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, over people and whether U.S. fuel efficiency standards should be revised.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bill Trott