Dr. Anthony R. (Tony) Kane, whose 45-year highway career included service at both the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, died May 15 after a long-standing illness. He was 72.
“Tony Kane was an extraordinary leader,” said Bud Wright, AASHTO’s executive director. “He far exceeded most of us intellectually and he brought great energy to life, whether at work or play. ”
Kane graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in civil engineering in 1967. He subsequently earned an M.S. in civil engineering, with an emphasis on transportation planning, from Northwestern University in 1969, then a doctorate in business administration from George Washington University in 1979. In addition, Kane completed an executive program for senior managers at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Kane [seen at left] began his career at FHWA in 1968 and served in a number of key positions during his time at the agency. As FHWA’s associate administrator for engineering and program development, Kane was selected by USDOT Secretary Samuel Skinner to lead the team that developed the George H. W. Bush Administration’s National Transportation Policy. The team’s efforts helped bring about the landmark Intermodal Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.
Kane was named FHWA’s executive director in 1994. In this capacity, he had day-to-day management responsibilities for the agency’s 2,700 employees. During his years at FHWA, Kane also spearheaded the restructuring of the agency around core business areas.
After retiring from FHWA in 2001, Kane began his tenure as AASHTO’s director of engineering and technical services. He took part in the formulation of the association’s policy and legislative proposals, plus the development of a large number of technical publications and standards. Kane also oversaw AASHTO’s wide range of technical programs. A leading national transportation safety advocate, Kane retired from AASHTO in 2013.
Kane received numerous awards for his leadership and contributions during the course of his career. He was given the U.S. Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service in both 1985 and 1990, the U.S. Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service in 1996, and the AASHTO President’s Special Award of Merit in 2001. In addition, Kane was formally honored by such groups as the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Road Gang.
Kane was also heavily involved in philanthropic activities. He helped establish the annual Road Gang golf tournament that now bears his name and raises thousands of dollars for charity.
Kane is survived by his wife Jackie, their children Megan and Sean, and a grandchild. A funeral mass for Kane will take place at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kensington, Maryland, on May 22.