In 2005, President Bush nominated Jim to serve as Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, serving until the end of 2008. Prior to his confirmation, Jim served briefly as the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Transportation. In 2004, Jim was appointed to the St. Lawrence Seaway Board, at the US Department of Transportation.
At the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Jim managed an annual budget of over 10 billion dollars and led a staff of more than 1,000 employees and contractors in Washington, D.C. and ten regional offices around the country. Jim's primary duties included: serving as the nation's Chief of public transportation; approving the funding of transportation infrastructure projects; communicating the Administration's key initiatives on public transportation; and, disseminating policy guidance to Congress and transportation stakeholders.
Shortly after arriving at the FTA, Mr. Simpson initiated the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Improvement Program. As a result, the Office of Personnel Management's government-wide Federal Human Capital Survey consistently indicated a significant improvement in leadership, results oriented performance culture and job satisfaction.
Under Mr. Simpson's leadership, the FTA oversaw 30 billion dollars of transit construction, awarded nearly 14 billion dollars in federal capital grants and managed one of the largest discretionary programs in the federal government. While at the FTA, Jim worked to reduce the financial risk associated with large-scale construction projects and to reduce the time taken from the planning to the operation of major capital projects. By taking a macro approach to mega project development, monetizing risk and measuring the return on investment for large- scale public projects, FTA leadership sought to take the "politics" out of project development and fund only the most meritorious projects.
In 1995, New York Governor George E. Pataki appointed and the State Senate confirmed Jim as a Commissioner of the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where he served for 10 years on the Finance Committee, the New York City Transit Committee and the Governance Committee. He served as Chairman of the Real Estate and Planning Committee and the Safety and Security Committee. Immediately following 9-11, Jim was designated the primary New York MTA Board liaison to the Governor's and Mayor's offices in coordinating transit activities at the World Trade Center site.
Former Governor Pataki also appointed Jim, with Senate confirmation, as a member of the New York State Job Development Authority Board. Under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's administration, he was appointed Honorary Deputy Police Commissioner for the New York City Police Department and to the Workforce Investment Board. Jim was appointed by Mayor Dinkins to the Commission on the Re-Development of Naval Station New York. Jim also represented the City Council at the New York State Financial Control Board for nine years and served on numerous not-for- profit boards.
Jim graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. John's University and is a David Rockefeller Fellow.