in memoriam

In Memory of Mortimer Downey

November 2, 2023


Mortimer L. Downey III, a longtime transportation industry pioneer and former Port Authority leader, passed away at the age of 87 on November 2. With over 65 years in public service, he also spent time at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Downey started as a management trainee at the PA, where he would spend the next 17 years while at the same time serving as a Coast Guard Reserve officer and pursuing his master’s in public administration at NYU. He was Deputy Secretary of Transportation during the Clinton administration and was responsible for major projects like PATH and the Panama Canal expansion. He also served as a transportation leader in the Obama administration’s transition team.

“In retrospect, I can see how one thing led to another in all of my career, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun if it hadn’t unrolled over time,” Downey wrote in a recent spotlight for the National Academy of Public Administration. He was predeceased by his wife Joyce and is survived by two sons and seven grandchildren.