Norman Y. Mineta has been sworn in as the 14th U.S. secretary of transportation, following unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
Mineta will oversee an agency consisting of almost 100,000 employees and a $58.7 billion budget. Created in 1967, the U.S. department of transportation (DOT) brought several air, maritime and surface transportation missions under one umbrella.
At his confirmation hearing, Mineta said transportation challenges facing the department include guaranteeing the safety of the traveling public, closing the gap between the demand for transportation and the capacity of the transportation infrastructure, applying new technology to complex real-world transportation problems and keeping the protective function of the U.S. Coast Guard up to its law enforcement task.
The U.S. transportation system is comprised of 3.9 million miles of public roads and 2 million miles of oil and natural gas pipelines. There are networks consisting of 120,000 miles of major railroads, more than 25,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways and more than 5,000 public-use airports. The transportation system also includes more than 500 major urban public transit operators and more than 300 ports on the coasts, Great Lakes and inland waterways.