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The governor has appointed a new MnDOT commissioner, and the House and Senate have appointed new transportation committee chairs.
(Published Dec 19, 2012)
Gov. Mark Dayton announced on Dec. 12 that he has appointed Charlie Zelle as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Zelle will begin his work at MnDOT on Jan. 15, succeeding Commissioner Tom Sorel, who resigned on Dec. 1 to become the CEO of AAA Minneapolis.
For more than 20 years, Zelle has served as president and CEO of Jefferson Lines, a Minneapolis-based transportation company providing travel services in 13 states across the Midwest. Jefferson Lines serves over 60 Minnesota communities and specializes in connecting rural areas to destinations throughout North America. Once he assumes his position as MnDOT commissioner, Zelle will play no role in managing the daily business of Jefferson Lines, but he will continue to serve as chair of its Board of Directors. As commissioner, Zelle will recuse himself from handling any business between MnDOT and Jefferson Lines.
In addition to his professional work at Jefferson Lines, Zelle has volunteered his time on transportation policy and business issues in a variety of capacities. Zelle currently serves as the chair of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Corridors of Opportunity Policy Board, and a member of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. This year he was appointed by Gov. Dayton to the Transportation Finance Advisory Committee (TFAC). As a founding member of The Itasca Project, Zelle is co-chair of the group’s Transportation Task Force. He is also a Board member and chair of the Policy Committee of the American Bus Association in Washington, D.C. Additionally, Zelle has served on the Executive Committee of the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) and chaired the American Bus Association.
Transportation committee chairs announced
Also recently appointed are new chairs of legislative committees that deal with transportation. Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) will chair the House Transportation Finance Committee, and Rep. Ron Erhardt (DFL-Edina) will chair the House Transportation Policy Committee.
The Senate, where the committee structure differs from the House, will have one Transportation and Public Safety Division of the Senate Finance Committee. The division will be chaired by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis). The new chairs replace the Republican chairs, who can no longer serve given the turnover in the majority.
Hornstein and Erhardt replace Rep. Mike Beard (R-Shakopee), who was chair of the House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee in 2012. And Dibble replaces Sen. Joe Gimse (R-Willmar), who lost his re-election bid to the Minnesota Senate and served as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee in 2012.
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