Profile: Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta

Transportation Maven

Mineta has had his hand in most of the major transportation bills of the 1980s and 1990s, including airline deregulation and ISTEA, a 1991 bill that allowed federal highway money to be used for public transit projects.

After he left Congress in 1995, Mineta stayed in the public eye, heading a committee that reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration in 1998. His committee found the agency to be unfocused and disorganized, and recommended changes in the management structure.

Mineta's viewpoint on transportation is thoroughly 21st century. As befitting his Silicon Valley home base, Mineta has a taste for high-tech transit solutions like "maglev" bullet trains that float above their tracks, electronic toll collection systems, computerized traffic management and electric cars. During a 1995 speech on future transportation systems, he said the nation has to move beyond merely repairing roads into finding new solutions for traffic.

"Technology offers answers to many of our present-day transportation problems and … technology might help us avoid new transportation and economic problems in the future," he said.

Mineta is married to Danealia Mineta and has two sons and two stepsons.

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