Council Mourns Passing of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta

The Bay Area Council joined the chorus of community members and Congressional leaders who mourned the passing this week of former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. Secretary Mineta was a Japanese-American born and raised in San Jose. He rose through the political ranks starting in the 1960s, and became the city’s mayor in 1971, before serving in Congress for 10 terms.

In Congress, he helped pass the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, a 1991 law allocated new funding for public transit, and was at the forefront for promoting transit as a primary means to reduce congestion. He was instrumental in securing the funds to complete Highway 85, Highway 87 and the VTA light-rail system, pushed for Santa Clara to join the BART District, and secured funding for the San Jose-Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant and the Guadalupe River Park.

He served as Commerce Secretary during the end of the Clinton Administration and then as Transportation Secretary for President George H. W. Bush. He created the Transportation Security Administration after the 9/11 attacks. His name graces the Norman Y. Mineta International Airport in San Jose and the Mineta Transportation Institute, which he founded, at San Jose State University.

Upon his passing, Jim Wunderman said, “Norman Mineta represented all that is good about this country. He was a dedicated and passionate public servant and trailblazing leader who devoted his life to improving the lives of others, to righting injustice and inequity and fighting for the values that underpin our democracy. Sec. Mineta was also an unwavering champion for improving our transportation system and his legacy will be felt for many generations. We send our deepest condolences to Secretary Mineta’s family and all those who are mourning the loss of this great man.”

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