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Bill would rename U.S. Transportation Department headquarters for Oberstar

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Legislation has been introduced to rename the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington in honor of former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar.

The longtime congressman died May 3 at 79.

A bill was introduced Wednesday by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, both Democrats. A House version is sponsored by Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., and co-sponsored by the entire Minnesota delegation.

Klobuchar noted that Oberstar had a role in “just about every major federally funded transportation project during the last five decades,’’ including roads, bridges, tunnels, rails, locks and dams, and bike paths. “It is only fitting that the Department of Transportation building would honor his legacy.”

The massive DOT complex, completed in 2007, spans 2.1 million square feet and fronts on New Jersey Avenue within view of the Capitol. It houses more than 5,000 employees. The $326 million complex includes a nine-story western tower and an eight-level eastern tower.

Oberstar, a Chisholm, Minn., native was first elected in 1974 and served through 2010, representing the Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. He spent much of that time focusing on transportation issues, including a stint as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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