Rep. Oberstar Named Port Person of the Year

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
U.S. Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., will be honored as American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) "Port Person of the Year.” Oberstar, who is widely known among colleagues as "Mr. Transportation," will receive the award Tuesday, March 25, at 8:30 a.m. at the Park Hyatt Washington, 1201 24th St., NW, at the opening General Session of AAPA's Spring Conference, where he will deliver the conference's keynote address. AAPA anticipates that more than 200 legislators, governmental staff members and port industry leaders will take part in the conference, from Monday, March 24, through Wednesday, March 26. "Congressman Oberstar is known as a tireless battler for the transportation industry, and his reputation for performance, delivery, public service and integrity is beyond reproach," said Davis Helberg, recently retired Executive Director of the Duluth (Minn.) Seaway Port Authority, who nominated Oberstar for the award. "I doubt if any member of Congress - House or Senate - is more knowledgeable about our nation's waterways and the essentiality of competitive waterborne transportation." Since 1975, his first year in office, Oberstar has been a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which prior to 1995 was known as the House Public Works Committee. In the four years preceding his election, he served as staff administrator for that committee.

Oberstar has authored or co-authored numerous transportation bills, including six Water Resources Development Acts from 1986 to 2000 and various Coast Guard and Coastal Zone Management reauthorizations and amendments. On a regional level, he has spearheaded several significant initiatives, including conversion to equity of the original St. Lawrence Seaway construction debt in 1981, elimination of U.S. Seaway tolls in 1986, construction of the second 1,200-ft. lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in 1999, and the Great Lakes Navigational Review Study in 1999.

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