On May 18, 2018, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) announced the death of Dr. Anthony R. “Tony” Kane, the former director of engineering and technical services of AASHTO. Kane died last week after battling a long illness. He was 72.
Kane served in his role at AASHTO from 2001 to 2013, AASHTO said. His tenure there followed a highly distinguished career with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), where he served as executive director from 1994 to 2001, after having filled many other key agency positions over more than thirty years. In 1989 Secretary of Transportation Samuel K. Skinner appointed Kane to lead the team that developed the George H.W. Bush Administration’s National Transportation Policy, a precursor to the landmark Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (1991), AASHTO said.
“Tony Kane was an extraordinary leader,” said Bud Wright, AASHTO executive director. “He far exceeded most of us intellectually and he brought great energy to life, whether at work or play. At AASHTO he was responsible for the development of hundreds of technical publications and standards, software product licensing and representing AASHTO internationally through the World Road Association-PIARC. Yet, somehow Tony always found time to help so many as they made their way through careers and life, offering guidance and advice whenever it was needed or might help.”
As FHWA’s executive director, Kane had day-to-day management responsibility for the $31-billion-per-year agency and its 2,700 employees, AASHTO said. During his career with FHWA, Kane restructured the organization around core business areas, and he was instrumental in the enactment and implementation of many federal surface transportation acts and funding increases.
AASHTO said Kane received many honors during his career, including the AASHTO President’s Special Award of Merit, the U.S. Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service, and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service (twice). The National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Road Gang have also honored him.
Kane was well-known for his philanthropy, AASHTO said, helping to establish an annual Road Gang-sponsored golf tournament that now bears his name and raises thousands of dollars annually for local charities.
Kane earned a B.S. in civil engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; an M.S. in civil engineering from Northwestern University; and a doctorate in business administration from George Washington University, AASHTO said.
Kane is survived by his wife Jackie, his children Megan and Sean, and his grandchild.