Tony Tavares was appointed the 34th director of the Department of Transportation by Governor Gavin Newsom and sworn in June 2022. Director Tavares manages a nearly $20 billion budget and more than 22,000 employees who oversee 50,000 lane miles of highway, maintain approximately 20,000 bridges, provide permitting of more than 400 public-use airports, fund three of Amtrak’s busiest intercity rail services and provide transit support to more than 200 local and regional transit agencies.
Director Tavares’ transportation vision for California addresses critical climate issues and advances a safe, equitable, accessible, sustainable, and multimodal transportation system that builds on strong partnerships and robust stakeholder engagement. He fosters a people-first culture built on the principles of Safety, Equity, Climate Action, and Economic Prosperity — furthering a California for all. He encourages innovation and intelligent risk-taking, as transformative innovation will be needed to achieve zero traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030.
Director Tavares most recently served as director of Caltrans District 7, which encompasses expansive Los Angeles and Ventura counties. As District 7 director, he oversaw transportation systems in a dynamic region that boasts 25% of California’s population; an annual construction program of more than $2 billion; and some of the most innovative solutions to help move people and goods through Southern California, part of the 5th largest economy in the world.
Prior to overseeing District 7, he served as Caltrans Bay Area director (District 4) where he was instrumental in implementing California’s landmark Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act. Tavares also progressed Caltrans’ goals as he served on several boards of regional transportation planning agencies, joint powers authorities and transit development.
From 2010 to 2018, Director Tavares served as the statewide division chief for maintenance. There, he directed 7,000 multi-disciplinary professional employees with an annual budget allocation of almost $2.2 billion. In the first year of SB1, he also delivered over $1 billion in pavement, bridge and culvert projects.
Director Tavares has also held executive leadership roles at Caltrans as the division chief for right of way and land surveys; North Region deputy director for structure construction; deputy division chief for construction; and District 10 director. In 2013, Director Tavares was awarded the Pavement Pioneer Award from the National Asphalt Pavement Association for his contribution in perpetual pavement projects.
Tavares is a graduate of University of California, Davis, with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He is a Professional Engineer and a certified Project Management Professional.