The business world started batting around names of a potential nominees to be transportation secretary Wednesday amid reports that President-elect Barack Obama coul start lining up his Cabinet choices as early as next week.
Rumors and speculation on the pick at DOT include Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell as well as members of Congress such as House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar and two Oregon Democratic congressmen, Pete DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer.
DeFazio is a senior Democrat on the T&I committee and has taken a strong interest in detailed transport matters.
Blumenauer, who represents the Portland, Ore., area, has been active in the state and in the House in commuter issues.
Other names popping include former Federal Aviation Administrator Jane Garvey, who has held other transport posts in Massachusetts and in Washington and is widely admired in Democratic circles.
Transportation industry executives close to the Obama campaign, speaking on condition of anonymity, say it is more likely, however, that the incoming administration will seek to put a new stamp on the department through new appointments less familiar to Washington's political establishment.
There is a wide array of transportation officials at the state and local level who could have a role at the top of DOT or in agency posts, including Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the San Francisco Bay area, and New York City Transportation Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Khan.
Other officials with a strong history in transportation who could help shape the DOT include Mortimer Downey, a former DOT official in the Clinton administration, Thomas Downs, a former chairman and CEO of Amtrak and executive at the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Highway Administration, and Frank Busalacchi, transportation secretary in Wisconsin and a member of the recent federal commission that studied infrastructure funding.