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

    Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

    Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

    Political Crumbs

    Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

    Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


    Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

    Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


    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