NORMAN Y. MINETA
Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Mr. Norman Y. Mineta became the 14th
U.S. Secretary of Transportation on January 25, 2001. In
nominating him, President Bush said, "Norm made a reputation in
the halls of Congress as someone who understands that a sound
infrastructure in America will lead to economic opportunity for
As Secretary of Transportation, Mr.
Mineta oversees an agency with 60,000 employees and a $56.3
billion budget. Created in 1967, the U.S. Department of
Transportation brought under one umbrella air, maritime and
surface transportation missions. "Transportation is key to
generating and enabling economic growth, determining the patterns
of that growth, and determining the competitiveness of our
businesses in the world economy," said Secretary Mineta.
"Transportation is thus key to both our economic success and to
our quality of life."
As a result of September 11, 2001,
President Bush signed into law on November 19, 2001, the Aviation
and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), which among other things
established the Transportation Security Administration within the
Department of Transportation. During 2002, under Secretary
Mineta's direction, the department undertook the earth-moving
efforts to transform, in the course of only a year, the
Transportation Security Administration from a piece of paper into
a fully operational agency with extensively trained new federal
employees and the numerous congressional deadlines met. On March
1, 2003, the Transportation Security Agency was transferred to
the Department of Homeland Security as a fully-operational
The U.S. transportation system
includes 3.9 million miles of public roads and 2 million miles of
oil and natural gas pipelines. There are networks consisting of
120,000 miles of major railroads, more than 25,000 miles of
commercially navigable waterways and more than 5,000 public-use
airports. The transportation system also includes more than 500
major urban public transit operators and more than 300 ports on
the coasts, Great Lakes and inland waterways.
Prior to joining President Bush’s
administration as Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Mineta served
as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton, becoming
the first Asian Pacific American to serve in the cabinet. He is
the first Secretary of Transportation to have previously served
in a cabinet position. Prior to joining the Commerce Department,
he was a vice president at Lockheed Martin Corporation.
From 1975 to 1995 he served as a
member of U.S. House of Representatives, representing the heart
of California’s Silicon Valley. As a member of Congress, Mr.
Mineta was known for his dedication to the people of his
district, for consensus building among his colleagues and for
forging public-private partnerships. Mr. Mineta's legislative and
policy agenda was wide and varied, including major projects in
the areas of economic development, science and technology policy,
trade, transportation, the environment, intelligence, the budget
and civil rights. He co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific
American Caucus and served as its first chair.
Mr. Mineta served as chairman of the
House Public Works and Transportation Committee between 1992 and
1994. He chaired the committee’s aviation subcommittee between
1981 and 1988, and chaired its Surface Transportation
Subcommittee from 1989 to 1991. During his career in Congress he
championed increases in investment for transportation
infrastructure, and was a key author of the landmark Intermodal
Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 which shifted
decisions on highway and mass transit planning to state and local
governments. ISTEA led to major upsurges in mass transit
ridership and more environmentally friendly transportation
projects, such as bicycle paths. He also pressed for more funding
for the department’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Later
in Congress he also served on the House Intelligence Committee.
After leaving the Congress, Mr.
Mineta chaired the National Civil Aviation Review Commission,
which in 1997 issued recommendations on reducing traffic
congestion and reducing the aviation accident rate. Many of the
commission’s recommendations were adopted by the Clinton
administration, including reform of the FAA to enable it to
perform more like a business.
Secretary Mineta and his family were
among the 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry forced from
their homes and into internment camps during World War II. After
graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Mr.
Mineta joined the Army in 1953 and served as an intelligence
officer in Japan and Korea. He joined his father in the Mineta
Insurance Agency before entering politics in San Jose, serving as
a member of its City Council from 1967 to 1971 and mayor from
1971 to 1974, becoming the first Asian Pacific American mayor of
a major U.S. city. As mayor, he favored greater control of
transportation decisions by local government, a position he later
championed in ISTEA.
While in Congress, Mr. Mineta was the
driving force behind passage of H.R. 442, the Civil Liberties Act
of 1988, which officially apologized for and redressed the
injustices endured by Japanese Americans during the War. In 1995,
George Washington University awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr.
Commemorative Medal to Mr. Mineta for his contributions to the
field of civil rights.
Secretary Mineta is married to
Danealia (Deni) Mineta. He has two sons, David and Stuart Mineta,
and two stepsons, Robert and Mark Brantner.