Industry reaction to President-elect George W. Bush's nomination of Norman Mineta as his Secretary of Transportation has been enthusiastically positive since the announcement was made earlier this week.
Mineta has a long history of supporting public transport not only during his career in Congress but also as a local official in San Jose, Calif., helping to secure support for one of the nation's first modern light rail projects. He was a strident champion of intermodalism and a more balanced transport policy in Congress, and was one of the architects of the landmark Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) when he was chairman of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee (now called the House Transportation & Infrastructure, or T&I, Committee).
Reacting to Bush's decision, APTA CEO Bill Millar called it "Good news for transportation!" He added that the nomination "heralds a bipartisan approach to transportation issues in the Bush Administration." As such, the basic funding levels as outlined in TEA 21 and the policy framework it established should continue.
Not surprisingly, the warmest praise came from the Clinton Administration, in which Mineta has served since July 2000 as Secretary of Commerce. "I am pleased that President-elect Bush has nominated my friend and colleague Norman Y. Mineta to serve as the next U.S. Transportation Secretary," said current Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater. "Mineta is a distinguished leader with a long history of contributing to America and to the transportation industry...I have enjoyed working with him through the years on many issues."
A full profile of Transportation-Secretary Designate Mineta will appear in the February/March 2001 edition of METRO Magazine.
Meanwhile, Rep. Bud Shuster (R-PA) announced that he will retire at the end of January. Shuster served as Chair of the T&I Committee since 1995, and is largely credited with crafting TEA 21 and the record levels of federal spending on public transport. Under House Republican Conference rules, which set a six-year term limit on committee chairs, Shuster's term at the helm of T & I was to expire at the end of 2001. Rep. Don Young (R-AK) is in line to assume the post.