Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


James L. Oberstar, former chair of House T&I Committee, passes away at 79

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
May 05, 2014

Logistics Management regrets to report that James L. Oberstar, former Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Minnesota Congressman, passed away on May 3. He was 79.

Oberstar served in the House for 36 years and was the longest-serving Congressman ever from Minnesota, according to a Washington Post report. The report added that in the world of transportation, Mr. Oberstar had an international reputation as an expert and as an advocate of public investments to spur private growth. He became known, among other things, as a champion of “intermodality,” the idea of linking highway, air and rail systems with urban buses, subways and bike paths.

Oberstar chaired the House T&I Committee from 2006-2010 and prior to that served as ranking minority member of the committee. He was highly-regarded for his knowledge of transportation issues and working with members of Congress in a productive bipartisan manner.

Prior to losing to Republican Chip Cravaack in the 2010 mid-term elections, Oberstar was in the process of developing a six-year, $450 billion successor bill to the previous federal transportation authorization, SAFETEA-LU, which expired in 2009. And he pulled no punches in lamenting the lack of progress occurring near the end of his time in office, due to partisan bickering.

“We need to get people moving again and get them out of traffic,” Oberstar said. “What are we leaving for the next generation? What investments are we making to make their lives better?”

And when he was out of office, he was even more direct at the 2011 National Shippers Strategic Council (NASSTRAC) annual conference, when he explained in no uncertain terms that the role of transportation infrastructure in fostering economic growth and success in the United States is one which does not have a political party attached to it, and that is why it is imperative that the country does the work that is needed to put it at the forefront in planning for the future.

“Congestion affects economics, quality of life, and the delivery of goods, and that is the biggest challenge for you in serving your customers and making America work,” Oberstar told the audience comprised of shippers and carriers.

And given the political dividing lines and tension in play, Oberstar noted that politics is the business of the people and the policies of the nation. What is wrong in this mix, he said, is partisanship.
But when partisanship is prevalent and the business of the people becomes highly charged and polarized is when things break down, he said. But an exception to this partisanship was the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee he led from 2007-2011.

“I have never seen a Republican road or a Democratic bridge,” said Oberstar. “We can work together to build all American roads and bridges for the good of the country. When we stick together, we can pass good legislation.”

Aside from the current partisan differences, Oberstar said more priority needs to be placed on the movement of freight in the U.S., given the aging transportation system which he said is no longer keeping pace with international trade and has a direct impact on the economy and job growth.

Oberstar graduated from College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota in 1956 and received an M.A. from the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium in 1957. He served on the staff for United States Representative John Anton Blatnik of Minnesota from 1963-1974; an administrator of the Committee on Public Works, United States House of Representatives from1971-1974; and was elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-fourth and to the seventeen succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1975-January 3, 2011), according to the Bibliographical Directory of the United States Congress. 

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

West Coast port authorities may be overstating the obvious when they decry “business as usual.” But it’s refreshing to see them finally coming around.

Transportation stakeholders reliant on North Carolina’s major seaports are welcoming news this week, which outlines plans to enhance the intermodal and cold chain network in the region.

The index ISM uses to measure non-manufacturing growth—known as the NMI—was 56.9 in February, which was 0.2 percent ahead of January and also 0.1 percent ahead of the 12-month average of 56.8. Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector has grown for the last 61 months, according to ISM.

Non asset-based third-party logistics (3PL) services and logistics technology services provider Transplace said today that Brooks Bentz has joined the company in a newly-created role as president of Transplace Consulting in conjunction with the launch of the company’s new North American consulting services practice.

The advent of e-commerce continues to grow and gain increased traction over time. The many ways for consumers to order and purchase goods online continues to expand and leads to various subsequent byproducts of online purchases, including shopping through multiple channels, and delivery and payment options, among other things. These types of topics serve as the thesis in the second annual UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Global Study issued this week by UPS and comScore Inc.

Article Topics

News · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA