Oberstar, who passed away May 3rd, devoted his career to improving transportation and infrastructure and was regarded as an expert on public works and transportation issues
As Chairman and long-time member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Oberstar championed support for highways, bridges, shipping channels, and airports as well as biking and hiking trails across Minnesota and the country
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken today introduced a bill to rename the U.S. Department of Transportation Headquarters in memory of former U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar. Oberstar, who passed away May 3rd, devoted his career to improving transportation and infrastructure and was regarded as an expert on public works and transportation issues. As Chairman and long-time member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Oberstar championed support for highways, shipping channels, bridge and airport construction, as well as bike lanes, sidewalks, biking trails and hiking trails across Minnesota and the country.
“Representative Oberstar’s fingerprints can be found on just about every major federally funded transportation project during the last five decades -- roads, bridges, tunnels, rails, locks and dams, bike paths,” Klobuchar said. “Every American who flies in an airplane or drives our federal highways can thank Jim Oberstar. Every American who bikes their bike trails, who hikes places like the beautiful Lake Superior trail in northern Minnesota or drives on our national highways and bridges should remember him. It is only fitting that the Department of Transportation building would honor his legacy.”
“The people of Minnesota and the entire nation lost a true giant when Jim Oberstar passed away,” Franken said. “By the time Jim rose to Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, he knew more about transportation than anyone in this country. It's only fitting that the federal building dedicated to the safe and efficient movement of the cars, trucks, bikes, planes, trains, and ships that Jim cared so much about be renamed in his honor.”
Some of Oberstar’s notable transportation accomplishments are listed below:
- Chaired the Transportation Committee, during which the Committee held 317 hearings covering 1,028 hours, producing 179 public laws and resolutions
- Served as a member of the Transportation Committee for 36 years and for 12 years as a staff member
- Advocated for bike safety measures and bike trails in transportation funding bills as early as the 1990s
- Pioneered the federal Safe Routes to School Program which improves safety on walking and bicycling routes to school and encourages children and families to travel between home and school using these modes.
- Co-authored the milestone Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, which authorized more than $280 billion dollars to modernize transportation infrastructure in the United States
- Introduced the bill that provided emergency funding to replace the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis after its tragic collapse in 2007
- Advocated for improving aviation safety and served as Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee
- Secured funding for the lakewalk in Duluth, new bridges along Interstate 35, a new airport terminal in Duluth, a customs and border control facility in International Falls, the Paul Bunyan Bike Trail that has seen 650,000 users and the Gitchi-Gami State Trail along the North Shore
- Supported the concept of “intermodality,” which focuses on connecting highways, subways, city buses, intercity rail and bike paths