Mineta calls for national bipartisanship

Former United States Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has called for national political bipartisanship in order to improve the nation's transportation system, enhance its security, reduce congestion, and address its role in a global economy. He made the remarks July 6 upon departing the Department of Transportation, having announced his resignation in June, effective July 7.

Here are some of his comments:

”The United States has the strongest, fastest-growing economy in the developed world because we have some of the world's strongest transportation systems,” he said. “But we will lose that competitive edge if we make a habit out of turning our noses up at investors in our seaports, airports, and highways just because they are headquartered outside the United States.

”Security is, and must always remain, a foremost concern. But it is pure folly to think that economic isolationism is an option in today's interconnected world.

”We can and we must address the congestion that is so pervasive in today's America before it seriously undermines our economic competitiveness and quality of life. Nationwide, the economic price tag of congestion is already a whopping $200 billion a year.

”Some of what we have suggested will be controversial. It will necessitate a cultural change to move from a government-monopoly model for much of our transportation infrastructure toward acceptance of the private sector and market forces.

”If we can fix the policy problems, I am confident that the conditions will be ripe for substantial investment. Virtually every major financial institution on Wall Street has created — or is in the process of creating — an infrastructure fund with transportation as a major component. They correctly recognize the enormous potential in American infrastructure. And it is imperative that future transportation decisionmakers continue to foster this interest, not take steps to discourage it.”

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