Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher names Transportation Cabinet Secretary

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, November 23, 2005  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Michael Goins
Jodi Whitaker

Acting Secretary Bill Nighbert accepts appointment 

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Today, Governor Ernie Fletcher named Bill Nighbert as secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.  Nighbert has been serving as acting secretary of the cabinet since late March. 

“Bill Nighbert has shown exemplary leadership and management skills,” said Governor Fletcher.  “His accomplishments in the time he has been the Acting Secretary have served as assets to the commonwealth. I am confident that under Secretary Nighbert’s leadership we will continue to improve Kentucky's highway infrastructure and fulfill my vision of providing a safe and reliable highway network in every part of our great Commonwealth.”  

During Nighbert’s tenure as acting secretary, the Transportation Cabinet has increased the number of minorities and women hired; is now managing more than $630 million dollars of highway projects; has successfully partnered with local city and county governments to address emergency highway needs and develop longer term strategies to improve safety and reliability for motorists in every region and has worked cooperatively with state legislators to address bridge and road needs.  In addition, a new change order process directed by Nighbert has saved the cabinet more than $21 million in taxpayer dollars. 

Recently, Secretary Nighbert conducted a series of “town hall” type meetings with employees in every highway district.  The meetings provided a forum for productive discussions about the direction of the cabinet and gave workers a chance to visit personally with the Secretary.  It was the first such meetings ever conducted by the head of the cabinet.  Nighbert also has weekly “open office hours” for cabinet employees to discuss any issues they want addressed. 

“I am extremely grateful and humbled for this opportunity to serve the Governor and the people of Kentucky,” said Secretary Nighbert. “I share the governor’s vision to increase diversity within the cabinet workforce and create an improved highway network that paves the way for new economic opportunities in every corner of our state.  I remain steadfast in my desire to make our highway system the best it can be.” 

The transportation infrastructure of the Commonwealth includes 27,438 miles of roads, 160 licensed airports, 23 public transportation systems, and registers of 2.7 million licensed drivers and 3.4 million vehicles annually. 

Secretary Nighbert is the former mayor of the city of Williamsburg in Whitley County.  He is a past President of the League of Cities and has worked previously in the Fletcher administration as the commissioner for Intergovernmental Programs before being named acting Transportation Cabinet secretary. 

Secretary Nighbert is married and has three children.  He and his wife live in Lexington. 

To view Secretary Nighbert’s bio, log on to