John Porcari announced Wednesday that he was stepping down as deputy transportation secretary. (Transportation Department photo) John Porcari announced Wednesday that he was stepping down as deputy transportation secretary. (Transportation Department photo)

John Porcari, deputy secretary at the Transportation Department, announced Wednesday that he is leaving the agency at the end of the month.

In a letter to DOT employees, Porcari called his announcement a “bittersweet moment.”

“It has been one of the great honors of my life to serve by your side on behalf of the American people,” Porcari wrote.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx praised Porcari’s work.

“John has played a lead role in nearly all of our accomplishments, but two in particular deserve special mention,” Foxx wrote. “In an effort to ensure that good transportation projects were started sooner — and their benefits enjoyed faster — John led a Department-wide effort to streamline our approval processes and cut Government red tape. At the same time, he increased enforcement of our Buy America program, helping to ensure that our country’s transportation projects are built by American workers using American materials. Through these programs and so many others, John is leaving the Department and the Nation’s transportation system stronger than when he started.”

Porcari, 54, has been second in command at DOT, responsible for running the day-to-day operations, since June 2009.  As deputy secretary, Porcari focused on the key role transportation could play in economic development and future growth.

“I have had the privilege of seeing first-hand your great work in delivering projects that jump-started the Nation’s recovery from the Great Recession,” he continued in his letter. “I have witnessed your swift and effective response to natural disasters that have been visited upon our fellow citizens; your commitment to rebuilding our communities across the land with transportation solutions that truly serve America; and your service to improve aviation operations and safety for the Nation that invented flight.”

Porcari twice served as Maryland’s transportation secretary. His first go-round was under Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D). He returned to the job in January 2007 under Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

Foxx has appointed Victor Mendez, currently the Federal Highway Administration chief, as acting deputy secretary effective Jan. 1.

This post has been updated.