DOT secretary calls it quits
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta has announced his resignation, effective July 7.
In a letter to the president, Mineta, a Democrat in a Republican administration, said, “it is time for me to move on to other challenges.”
Mineta has presided over DOT during one of the most challenging periods in the department’s history. He was secretary during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and was responsible for shutting down the aviation system to prevent additional attacks. He also dealt with the West Coast dock workers lockout that crippled U.S. imports over a 10-day period.
Mineta has worked to find ways to keep domestic airlines from going out of business during a difficult economic period. The department continues to push for more open aviation markets with the European Union.
He oversaw the federal response to massive transportation disruptions caused by last year’s hurricanes in the Gulf.
Under his leadership, the department also negotiated the $286-billion surface transportation spending bill, known as the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, or SAFETEA-LU.
The White House kept Mineta on as transportation secretary, ending speculation that he might step down at the end of President Bush’s first term due to health problems. Mineta had back surgery in 2003.
Before joining the Bush administration, Mineta served as commerce secretary under President Clinton. He was vice president at Lockheed Martin Corp. prior to this appointment. From 1975 to 1995, Mineta was a member of the House of Representatives.