Marine Log

November 11, 2006

Oberstar set to take helm at key House committee

Democrats are getting ready to take control of key Congressional committees, including those with maritime responsibilities,

As the Ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, James L. Oberstar (D. MN) is expected to assume that committee's chairmanship when the 110th Congress convenes in January 2007.

Traditionally, the panel is one of the most bipartisan committees.

The committee has jurisdiction over America's surface transportation; freight and passenger rail; the inland waterway system, including the St. Lawrence Seaway; international maritime commerce; the Economic Development Administration; the U.S. Corps of Engineers' support of the nation's water resources; and the federal clean water program.

Oberstar has already spoken to the current Transportation Committee Chairman, Don Young (R-AK), who pledged to work with Oberstar and other Democrats on the committee.

Looking at the committee's priorities in the next session of Congress, Oberstar cited the need for increasing security for all modes of transportation--particularly port security and for accelerating dredging in the harbors of the Great Lakes.

Oberstar also said he expects the Transportation Committee to increase its oversight responsibilities, which, he says "has been nearly non-existent over the last few Congresses."