Karen Hedlund was appointed Deputy Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration in December 2011. Prior to her appointment, she served as FRA Chief Counsel, providing legal oversight and advice for the agency’s safety and passenger rail programs, with a focus on implementation of the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program. She led successful negotiations with several Class I host railroads to secure Service Outcome Agreements, supporting the timely obligation of nearly $8 billion in grants to thirty two states and the District of Columbia. Hedlund also participated in the development of an historic multi-state procurement for Next Generation rail equipment in California, Washington State and the Midwest.
With more than 35 years of experience in the legal profession, Hedlund's knowledge and expertise of major infrastructure projects and public finance continue to be an invaluable asset to FRA in her capacity as Deputy Administrator.
Prior to joining FRA, Hedlund was appointed as Chief Counsel for the Federal Highway Administration in June 2009. Before coming to the U.S. Department of Transportation, she was a partner at Nossaman LLP, from 1995 to 2009, leading the national firm’s East Coast Infrastructure Practice where she advised state DOTs, regional transportation authorities and other entities about the use of innovative financing for large infrastructure projects including highways, transit and rail systems.
Karen also spent time as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for SunAmerica Inc; was a Partner at Skadden Arps; and served as Partner and Associate for Mayer Brown in Chicago. She received a Bachelors of Arts from Harvard University and her Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center.