U.S. DOT leader Norman Mineta dies at age 90
May 4, 2022
•Land Line Staff
Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta died on Tuesday, May 3, at the age of 90.
Mineta served as the commerce secretary for President Bill Clinton and as the transportation secretary for President George W. Bush. Leading the U.S. DOT after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Mineta guided the creation of the Transportation Security Administration.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle spoke fondly of Mineta following the announcement of his death.
“Norm was the chair of the subcommittee on aviation and one of my mentors when I first came to Congress,” House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairperson Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said in a statement. “I benefited tremendously from his leadership and guidance. His example inspired me to vigorously oversee the aviation industry and FAA, and insist on safety for the traveling public before all else.”
Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., and T&I ranking member, said the nation lost a true public servant and statesman.
“As the longest-serving secretary of transportation and first Asian-American cabinet member in U.S. history, Norm Mineta was a giant in American history and looms large as an example of leadership, patriotism, and bipartisanship,” Graves said in a statement. “Norm was the son of Japanese immigrants and spent two years in an internment camp during World War II. But this experience didn’t shake his love of country or his commitment to public service.”
Graves also lauded Mineta for taking immediate action after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
“When terrorists used our aviation system to attack our nation on Sept. 11, Norm quickly made the unprecedented decision to immediately ground every flight in our airspace,” Graves said. “Afterward, he helped lead the way in significantly strengthening the security of our entire transportation system.”
President Biden is expected to sign a bill to name the U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., after William T. Coleman Jr. and Mineta.
In 2005, Mineta, who was serving as U.S. DOT secretary at the time, traveled to the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., for a breakfast event with OOIDA and other industry groups to encourage drivers to use seat belts as part of the “Be Ready, Be Buckled” campaign. LL