Metro Magazine

SEP-OCT 2014

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Page 49 of 143

46 < m ETRO m AGAZINE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE House Transportation and Infrastructure Com- mittee (T&I) beginning in 1974, before becom- ing chairman in 2007. Oberstar's legacy is visible throughout his home state, where his infuence secured funding for public works projects, including the North- star commuter rail system and the rebuilding of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge, helping to secure $250 million for the latter within days of its collapse. At the federal level, Oberstar had an international reputa- tion as an expert and as an advocate of public investments to spur private growth. He became known as an ardent champi- on of "intermodality." Oberstar authored, co-sponsored and helped pass the $295 billion SAFTEA-LU surface transportation bill and was a strong supporter of ARRA. Oberstar's tenure in Congress and the T&I Committee came to an abrupt end after his surprise defeat by Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) in 2010. Oberstar died in May at the age of 79. "He was a tireless advocate for safety, consumer protec- tions and robust federal investment so that the American pub- lic could continue to enjoy the best transportation system in the world," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx. "His per- sonal imprint on our national transportation policies across all modes cannot be overstated. His principles and his legislative accomplishments continue to guide the work of the U.S. De- partment of Transportation each and every day." RAY LAHOOD Former Secretary of Transportation A former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, La- Hood was named Secretary of Transportation by President Barack Obama in 2008. Upon confrmation in early 2009, La- Hood was immediately charged with overseeing the U.S. DOT, which boasts more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget. In nominating LaHood, Obama said "Few understand our infrastructure challenge better than the outstanding public servant that I'm ask- ing to lead the Department of Transportation." During his tenure, he helped the president ex- ecute his vision for surface transportation as well funding for transportation programs created through ARRA. LaHood also helped create the TIGER grant program and oversaw the nation's frst high-speed rail program, touting it as the future of the nation the same way the Interstate High- way system was in the 1950s. A major focus for LaHood was his "rampage" against dis- tracted driving, creating the "Blueprint for Ending Distract- ed Driving" in 2012, which offered a comprehensive strat- egy to address the growing and dangerous practice of using handheld cell phones behind the wheel. Te plan outlined concrete steps stakeholders around the country — from law- makers and safety organizations to families and young- the FTA's processes, including the New Starts program, and initiated important revisions and clarifcations to FTA's poli- cies for ensuring all funding recipients comply fully with fed- eral civil rights laws and the impacts of proposed transit con- struction projects on low-income and minority communities are taken fully into account. Under Rogof 's leadership, the FTA signed more capital construction agreements in Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012 for transit projects than in any two-year period in the agency's history. He has used his position on the Transportation Sec- retary's Credit Council to advance transit participation in U.S. DOT credit assistance programs, including the TIFIA program, which aids in making funds available for major capital transit projects. Recently, Rogoff was appointed under secretary, policy, for the U.S. DOT by new Secretary of Transportation Antho- ny Foxx. PAUL JABLONSKI CEO San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Jablonski has been at the helm of San Diego MTS for almost 11 years. When he was named CEO, the agency had just been ripped apart by legislation that took all non-operating func- tions away from MTS. Jablonski totally rebuilt MTS to restore planning functions, to eliminate operating silos in bus and light rail divisions, eliminate operating redundancies, improve op- erating efciencies and much more. Today, MTS is a model of State of Good Re- pair, leading eforts to renovate the entire Trolley network, build new bus maintenance facilities and procure new buses (now 80% CNG) and low-foor trolleys. Jablonski has negotiated 14 labor contracts to create more sus- tainable pensions and increase attendance. Recently, MTS partnered with Masabi to launch a mobile ticketing app that enables passengers to purchase day pass- es via smartphones for specials events including San Diego Chargers football games and the annual ComicCon event, which brings hundreds of thousands of people to the San Di- ego area over three days. MTS is also at the top among peer agencies in almost every performance measure. Additionally, Jablonski was at the helm of the California Transit Association during some of the most tumultuous years for the industry. He fought to restore state funding, led eforts to ward of Federal withholding of grants due to California pension reform, negotiated axle-weight regu- lations and helped revamp the association's branding. Jablon- ski is now on the APTA executive committee. JAMES OBERSTAR Former Chair House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Oberstar, the longest serving congressmen in Minnesota histo- ry, was a long-time transportation advocate and served on the

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