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Meet the COO of SPS and President of Surface Transportation Strategies

Roger Bohnert joined the Strong Port Strategies team as COO and President of Surface Transportation Strategies in April 2024 after more than 20 years as a senior executive in the Department of Transportation and 24 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. Roger:

  • Was a founding member of the Build America Bureau, providing long term, low interest loans and technical assistance in innovative finance and delivery of transportation projects

  • Was responsible for the Bureau’s business development — built a pipeline of projects valued at more than $42 billion and closure of $29 billion in loans

  • Oversaw the allocation of more than $20 billion in Private Activity Bonds (PABs) for transportation projects

  • Diversified the pipeline from its legacy of primarily urban highway projects to include expanded transit, seaports, airports, Transit Oriented Development and passenger and freight rail, including dozens of projects in rural communities – a Bureau first

  • Was the visionary behind three new innovative technical assistance grant programs. Authored NOFOs and put $144 million to work toward project financing and delivery activities

  • Established the Maritime Administration’s capacity to administer and oversee the port-specific TIGER grants (now the INFRA grant program), securing and disbursing over $600 million to 50 seaports

  • Created the America’s Marine Highway Program that ultimately led to 14 years of grants totaling $90 million to support the Nation’s coastal and inland waterways

  • Served as senior advisor and Military Assistant to the Secretary of Transportation, guiding the relationship between the Coast Guard, the Secretary and the Department of Transportation

  • LinkedIn

$962B backlog in road, bridge and transit investment

Due to the nearly trillion dollar backlog in vital transportation infrastructure maintenance and upgrade projects (in 2021) required across the country, the American Society of Civil Engineers assigned grades of “D” and “D-” to road, bridge and transit capital investment in their Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

Experience and credentials

Director, Office of Outreach and Project Development, Build America Bureau, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT): Founding member of the Build America Bureau, which was formed to leverage the Department’s loan programs and help project sponsors master innovative finance and project delivery across the transportation sector. Built a 20-person business development team, who worked with states, municipalities and the private sector to build a $42 billion pipeline of projects and saw more than $29 billion in loans close since the Bureau’s launch in 2016.

Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Intermodal System Development, Maritime Administration, DOT: Led initiatives to develop and fund port modernization projects. Architect of the StrongPorts program, predecessor of the Port Infrastructure Development grant program, which helped the Nation’s ports modernize and expand. Agency lead for TIGER discretionary grant program (now called INFRA grant program), which allocated nearly $600 million to 50 port and marine transportation projects. Created the U.S. Marine Highway Program, which has provided $90 million in grants to deliver over $200 million in projects to expand coastal and inland water transport for freight and passengers.


Acting Director, Office of Intelligence, Security and Emergency Response, Office of the Secretary of Transportation: Directed 45-member staff to oversee DOT’s emergency/disaster response field offices. Responsible for 24/7 operations center and led DOT response to emergencies, including Hurricane Katrina and others. 


Iraq Reconstruction: Co-led DOT team in Baghdad to assist Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority. Conducted port system evaluation and developed The National Maritime Strategy for Iraq. 


Military Assistant to the Secretary of Transportation: Assigned by the Coast Guard to serve on the personal staff of the Secretary of Transportation to manage the relationship between the Coast Guard and its Cabinet Chief and resolve sensitive issues between the Commandant and senior DOT officials.


Commander, United States Coast Guard: 24-year Coast Guard career, ranging from search and rescue to law enforcement and waterway management. Spent over 13 years aboard Cutters and sailed as Commanding Officer of two vessels.

Merchant Marine License – Master Unlimited Tonnage, All Oceans (not current) 


American Association of Port Authorities certifications in Port Administration and Legal Issues, Port Finance and Marine Terminal Management


“My decades of experience in implementing and leading grant programs, in-depth understanding of Federal credit and private activity bond programs and working with Cabinet members, Congress and the White House, can help our clients achieve their strategic objectives.”

Roger Bohnert

COO of SPS and President of Surface Transportation Strategies

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