Transportation committees remain largely intact after Election Day

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | Wednesday, November 07, 2012

There won’t be any familiar faces missing from the leadership of transportation-related committees on Capitol Hill following the election, but there will be changes with some committee members losing their bids for re-election.

“We are pleased to see some of the incumbents coming back for the next Congress,” said OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Laura O’Neill.

There was no shift of power in the House of Representatives, with Republicans retaining control of the chamber. And, with so many of the incumbents winning their bids for re-election, the House transportation committees won’t seem all that different in the upcoming term.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-FL, easily defeated his opponent to retain his seat in the house. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-PA, was also re-elected. He is rumored to be the next chairman of the powerful transportation committee. Ranking member Rep. Nick Rahall, D-WV, won a hotly contested race to serve another term.

“We look forward to working with Congressman Shuster should the House majority select him as the next Chairman of T and I,” O’Neill said. “We hope that he can help alleviate some of the regulatory burden small-business truckers are facing and also help reach across the aisle to bring back some of the bipartisan spirit the Committee used to enjoy.  We are optimistic about what’s to come if he gets the gavel.”

Highways and Transit Subcommittee leadership remained intact as well. Both Chairman John J. Duncan, R-TN, and Ranking Member Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR, won their re-election bids.

Meanwhile, the full committee saw losses in three races. Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-IA; Rep. Laura Richardson, D-CA; and Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-MN, all will not be returning to serve on the committee.

Boswell was defeated in a redistricted race by Rep. Tom Latham, R-IA. Latham currently serves as chairman of the appropriations committee that handles housing and transportation. Richardson lost in a unique race with a pair of Democrats duking it out. She lost to Janice Hahn. Cravaack lost his bid for re-election after one term to former house Rep. Rick Nolan, a Democrat.

Other members of the T and I who were re-elected in races that were billed as very close by Politico are Reps. Tim Bishop, D-NY; Larry Bucshon, R-IN; Jeff Denham, R-CA; Richard Hanna, R-NY; Mike Michaud, D-ME; Reid Ribble, R-WI; and Steve Southerland, R-FL.

“We had some fears about a few tight races, like West Virginia for example, where we could have seen a shakeup and lost a veteran Congressman as well as a fighter on behalf of owner-operators,” O’Neill said. “But, for the most part, the landscape will look quite similar to the previous Congress. There weren’t many surprises.”

T&I member Rep. Jeff Landry, R-LA, will face a runoff election in another redistricted precinct next month to determine whether he retains his seat in the House. He faces Rep. Charles Boustany, R-LA.

On the Senate side, the Democrats retained control. That means Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, will retain control of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Sen. John. D. Rockefeller, D-WV, will also keep his leadership of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

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