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InfrastructureNewsRegulation

Holmes-Norton eyes House T&I committee top spot

Highway subcommittee chair next in line after retiring DeFazio

The chair of the highway subcommittee of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee wants to lead the full committee now that House T&I Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., has announced he will not seek reelection in 2022.

Holmes-Norton

Eleanor Holmes-Norton, who was elected to Congress in 1991 as the delegate to the District of Columbia, said she will run for chair or ranking member (if Republicans gain control of the House) of the T&I committee for the 118th Congress. Norton is currently the most senior Democrat on the committee after DeFazio. She has served on almost all the other T&I subcommittees.

“Chair DeFazio has been a strong supporter of statehood for the District of Columbia, for which I will always be grateful,” Norton said in a statement on Wednesday. “I wish him many years of health and happiness in his next chapter.”

As a delegate to Congress, Holmes-Norton can vote in committee but is not allowed to take part in legislative floor votes.

DeFazio

DeFazio, who has served 36 years in the House, is known for being passionate about aviation safety and environmental protection. He lists among his other accomplishments in leading the T&I committee:

  • Guiding through Congress the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which increased federal investment in the country’s transportation and other infrastructure by more than $550 billion.
  • Improving the federal highway funding formula, which brought an additional $1.3 billion in funding to his home state for roads, bridges and surface transportation projects.
  • Unlocking up to $3 billion annually in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and increasing small harbor funding by 50%.

“It’s time for me to pass the baton to the next generation so I can focus on my health and well-being,” DeFazio said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“This was a tough decision at a challenging time for our republic with the very pillars of our democracy under threat, but I am bolstered by the passion and principles of my colleagues in Congress and the ingenuity and determination of young Americans who are civically engaged and working for change.”

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear called DeFazio a “gifted legislator” who put the nation’s interests ahead of his own.

“Amidst bitter partisanship throughout Washington, Chairman DeFazio stands out as one of the rare solution seekers committed to advancing the legislative process,” Spear said in a statement.

“Few legislators have been more instrumental in driving national infrastructure policy than Chairman DeFazio. He’ll leave the House having cemented a lasting legacy that his constituents and all Americans will see, feel and use for decades to come. We thank him for his service and partnership.”

Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association President Todd Spencer said he appreciated DeFazio understanding the concerns raised by small-business truckers.

“While we have not always agreed about how to best improve the trucking industry, we have valued the informed dialogue with the Chairman and his staff over the years,” Spencer said. “We look forward to continue working with Rep. DeFazio on addressing many of the long-standing challenges that truckers confront on a daily basis such as excessive detention time, inadequate compensation and the truck parking crisis during the remainder of his term.”

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

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