On Thursday, July 6, Norman Mineta made his final speech as the U.S. secretary of transportation. In an address before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mineta reminded officials about the nation’s key transportation concerns as they move forward in his absence.
He said the nation’s transportation system is at a critical juncture that requires bipartisanship if we are to continue to lead by example. The secretary noted that if the United States wishes to maintain its competitive edge in transportation design and construction then we should not "make a habit out of turning our noses up at investors in our seaports, airports, and highways just because they are headquartered outside the United States."
He added, "Security is, and must always remain, a foremost concern. But it is pure folly to think that economic isolationism is an option in today’s interconnected world."
Further, Mineta reminded the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that, "Our transportation systems are lifelines in times of emergency," a fact made abundantly (if not embarrassingly) clear during last year’s hurricane season. He said, "Whether an emergency is caused by a deliberate act of terrorism or results from a natural disaster or health care crisis such as avian flu, we must be able to depend on our transportation systems to evacuate people in need, to move critical supplies emergency workers, and to provide essential resources rapidly into affected areas."