USDOT Renames HQ to Honor Two Former Secretaries

The headquarters of the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. has been formally renamed the William T. Coleman, Jr. and Norman Y. Mineta Federal Building, honoring two “transformational” former U.S. secretaries of transportation.

[Above photo by AASHTO]

 “[They] 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 USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement

“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,” he added.

Completed in 2007, the USDOT headquarters campus – located in D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood– incorporates two buildings connected by an underground walkway. It is also a “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” or LEED-certified structure.

Coleman – the first African American U.S. transportation secretary and the second African American to serve in a presidential cabinet – served as the USDOT’s fourth secretary from 1975 to 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 U.S. transportation secretary. During his tenure, 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 Clinton presented Coleman with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 and he passed away in 2017.  

Mineta – the first Asian American to serve as U.S. transportation secretary and USDOT’s longest-serving secretary – served as the 14th USDOT secretary from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush.

He oversaw the USDOT response to the September 11th attacks, including making the decision to ground all flights in the National Airspace System and quickly establishing the Transportation Security Administration.

Mineta – who passed away in May 2022 – also served in the U.S. Army, as a U.S. Congressman from California, and as U.S. commerce secretary under President Clinton, making him the first Asian American to hold a cabinet post. 

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