Sunday, June 23, 2024

Dept. of Transportation HQ Named in Honor of Former Secretaries Mineta, Coleman

Participating in the dedication ceremony with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg were David Mineta and Harden Coleman, representing their fathers, Norman Mineta (1931-2022) and William Coleman (1920-2017). (U.S. Department of Transportation)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and U.S. General Services Administrator Robin Carnahan on May 9 formally announced the naming of the U.S. DOT headquarters building to the William T. Coleman, Jr. and Norman Y. Mineta Federal Building, dedicated for two transformational former secretaries of transportation and fulfilling bipartisan legislation passed in Congress.

At a morning dedication ceremony, Buttigieg and Carnahan were joined by members of the Coleman and Mineta families, as well as DOT and GSA employees, lawmakers, senior government officials, and other transportation leaders. 

“Secretaries Bill Coleman and Norm Mineta were not only exemplary stewards of our nation’s transportation system, but boundary-breaking leaders who devoted their lives to the service of our country,” said Buttigieg. “It is a fitting tribute to Secretaries Coleman and Mineta that we are naming the USDOT headquarters in their honor, so that their legacies continue to inspire future generations of public servants.” 

“Congress’ decision to rename this federal building after Secretary Coleman and Secretary Mineta is a great example of how we can permanently honor the legacies of these two trailblazers,” said Carnahan. “The people who work here — and the everyday Americans who walk or drive by — will see how these buildings reflect the history of both the Transportation Department and our nation as a whole. We are proud to continue our stewardship of this building through our ongoing partnership with DOT.”

Coleman, the first African American secretary of transportation and the second African American to serve in a presidential Cabinet, served as the department’s fourth secretary from 1975-1977 under President Gerald Ford. A military veteran and a lawyer by trade, Coleman worked on civil rights cases alongside Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall prior to his service as transportation secretary.

As transportation secretary, Coleman oversaw the creation of the Materials Transportation Bureau, known today as the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Following his tenure at USDOT, Coleman returned to his legal career, arguing numerous civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. President Bill Clinton presented Coleman with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995. 

Mineta, the first Asian American transportation secretary and the department’s longest-serving secretary, served as the department’s 14th secretary from 2001-2006 under President George W. Bush. Mineta oversaw the department’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, including making the decision to ground all flights in the National Airspace System and quickly establishing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

During Mineta’s long career in public service, he also served in the U.S. Army and as a U.S. congressman from California, where he helped spearhead the fight for marriage equality and championed legislation that led to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Prior to his service as transportation secretary, Mineta also served as commerce secretary under Clinton, making him the first Asian American to hold a Cabinet post.

The LEED-certified U.S. DOT headquarters building is located in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Completed in 2007, the campus includes twin buildings connected by an underground walkway. 

U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Corey Booker (D-N.J.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and other senators along with U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and André Carson (D-Ind.) led the passage of the William T. Coleman, Jr. and Norman Y. Mineta Federal Building Act. President Biden signed the bill into law in May 2022, formally authorizing the name change. 


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