Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Live Blogging: Congressman Oberstar on Transportation Policy

Bookmark and Share

12:00 p.m. The title of Congressman Jim Oberstar's (MN-08) talk today at the Humphrey Institute is "Transportation Policy and America's Future." Oberstar is the Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, after serving more than a decade as its ranking Democratic member. In part due to the 17-term Congressman's Chairmanship, Oberstar was ranked by Congress.org this year as the most powerful MN delegate in the U.S. House, and the 51st most powerful House member in the body.

12:05 p.m. Oberstar -- 44 years prior - served as a clerk for a Transportation subcommittee (Rivers and Harbors), which makes him the first staffer to ever become chair of a committee in the history of the House.

12:10 p.m. Oberstar stresses the importance of investing in transportation, throughout the history of the development of the U.S. The Congressman has held 59 hearings already this session, and more than a dozen bills have been passed by the committee. Twenty-eight transportation bills and resolutions have been passed by the House this year.

12:15 p.m. Oberstar demonstrates how improved transportation infrastructure is key for U.S. business (e.g. agriculture) to compete on the international market. He states under his Committee leadership the House has passed key legislation - such as expanding the locks on the Mississippi - which will help lower these transportation costs.

12:20 p.m. The Transportation Committee is known for generally being one of the more bi-partisan committees in the House of Representatives (unlike other powerful committees, such as the Committee on the Judiciary or the Committee on Ways and Means).

12:23 p.m. It will be interesting to see if Oberstar discusses the federal role in rebuilding the lock system in and around New Orleans now almost two years after Hurricane Katrina (and, if not, whether an audience member will raise the issue).

12:25 p.m. Pork has often been associated with transportation legislation - and the number of questionable transportation projects that have been contemplated and undertaken in recent years is long (e.g. the Bridge to Nowhere, the Big Dig etc.). Oberstar, for his part, has been able to bring one-quarter of the state's federal transportation to his own Congressional district (which has just one-eighth of the state's population).

12:35 p.m. Congressman Oberstar's knowledge of and passion for transportation is quite evident, as he speaks with great enthusiasm in his authoritative baritone. Oberstar speaks with downright glee about his newfound position of power as committee chair and the legislation they are able to undertake - such as requiring solar power energy plans for federal office buildings.

12:40 p.m. Center for the Study of Politics and Governance Director Larry Jacobs now moderates a question and answer session with the Congressman. Oberstar describes his power as committee chairman as the 'power of initiative.'

12:45 p.m. Oberstar states he is against re-regulation of the airline industry. The federal government still has a role in airline security, of course, and Congress will step in regarding monopolistic actions etc. He also adds "essential air service" (requiring airlines - with federal funds - to provide air travel to remote, smaller communities - such as International Falls in his own district) is still important. Some 150 communities have been so designated by the federal government.

12:55 p.m. Oberstar expresses his frustration with Governor Pawlenty and the state legislative republicans who prevented the passage of DFL-led legislation to provide additional funds in Minnesota (through taxation) for state transportation projects this legislative session. The Congressman jokes he would liked to have "traded governors" with Wisconsin for one legislative session.

Previous post: Smart Politics Live Blogging at Congressman Oberstar Event
Next post: Wisconsinites Remain Sour about Bush, Direction of Country

2 Comments


  • will you be getting a raise this year? talk of raising tax's is going on right now. and i want to know if you are getting a raise this year?are you included in this tax raise? how about you freeze all tax's, wages,and retail prices. that is a good idea.......it will work and has worked in the past.

  • I think the case against periodically scattering shards of broken glass in the streets is pretty clear, but in case it's not -- doing so would be hazardous to pedestrians, cyclists, commercial vehicles, etc., and as such it doesn't suggest itself as a reasonable method of discouraging automobile use. Jacking up the tax on cars sounds like a good idea to me. I'd also favor congestion pricing, reduction in the amount of free parking made available, etc.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

    Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

    Political Crumbs

    Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

    Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


    An Idaho Six Pack

    Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting