U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta has been a longtime friend and champion of the nation's transportation system and proponent of placing more emphasis on national and international transit in order to realize the full benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
As part of the prestigious U.S.-Mexico Border Summit Aug. 22-24 at The University of Texas-Pan American, Mineta will discuss major transportation corridors and the Department's many programs to develop and improve the border transportation infrastructure and ability to safely process increasing traffic flows at border points of entry.
"The three NAFTA nations have prospered socially and economically from the agreement, and we need to continue to build on the firm footing already established," Mineta said.
"I applaud The University of Texas-Pan American for taking the initiative in bringing together government officials, business leaders and philanthropists to help implement this agreement in a way that will ensure the highest possible level of safety and continued economic growth."
Mineta became the 14th U.S. Secretary of Transportation in January. He oversees an agency with 100,000 employees and a $58.7 billion budget.
Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-Mercedes), who also will be attending the U.S.-Mexico Border Summit, is delighted to have Mineta visiting South Texas and addressing transportation needs.
"U. S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's visit will be a powerful instrument through which we can demonstrate internationally the cooperative work being done along our border," Hinojosa said. "In the past five years, we have taken great strides to improve our overall community, but vast economic expansion has caused us to outgrow our current infrastructure.
"Increased federal investments are now needed to keep up with our growth. Secretary Mineta is the conduit to this investment, and I hope that the Border Summit will educate him on our current growth and prompt new infrastructure construction that will lead to fast, safe and efficient borders. I welcome my good friend Secretary Mineta to South Texas and look forward to an informative and productive visit."
The U.S. transportation system includes 3.9 million miles of public roads, two million miles of oil and natural gas pipelines, 120,000 miles of major railroads, more than 25,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways and more than 5,000 public-use airports. It also includes more than 500 major urban public transit operators and more than 300 ports on the coasts, Great Lakes and inland waterways.
Previously, Mineta was U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton, the first Asian Pacific American to serve in the cabinet. Before that, he was a vice president at Lockheed Martin Corporation.
From 1975 to 1995, Mineta served as a member of U.S. House of Representatives, representing the heart of California's Silicon Valley.
His legislative and policy agenda was wide and varied, including major projects in the areas of economic development, science and technology policy, trade, transportation, the environment, intelligence, the budget, and civil rights. He also co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and was its first chair.
Mineta was chair of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee from 1992-94, the committee's Aviation Subcommittee from 1981-88 and its Surface Transportation Subcommittee from 1989-91.
He spearheaded increases in investment for transportation infrastructure and was a key author of the landmark Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, which shifted decisions on highway and mass transit planning to state and local governments.
After leaving Congress, Mineta chaired the National Civil Aviation Review Commission, which issued recommendations in 1997 on reducing traffic congestion and the aviation accident rate. Many of the commission's recommendations were adopted by the Clinton administration, including reform of the FAA to enable it to perform more like a business.
Personally, Mineta and his family were among the 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry forced from their homes and into internment camps during World War II. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, he joined the Army in 1953 and served as an intelligence officer in Japan and Korea.
Mineta joined his father in the Mineta Insurance Agency before entering politics in San Jose. He was a member of the San Jose City Council from 1967-71 and mayor from 1971-74, the first Asian Pacific-American mayor of a major U.S. city.
In 1995, George Washington University awarded him the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Medal for his contributions to the field of civil rights.
The three-day U.S.-Mexico Border Summit will bring together high-ranking officials from both countries, representatives of major national foundations and corporate leaders to examine international trade, energy, telecommunications, utility infrastructure corridor development, border manufacturing opportunities, water, housing and health issues.
For more information on the U.S.-Mexico Border Summit, visit www.bordersummit.com or contact The University of Texas-Pan American at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 956/381-2116 or toll-free at 1-888-432-4033.