By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

House committee leadership is coming into focus as the chamber prepares to switch to the new Democratic majority from Republican control. Some posts, including the Speakership, will not be settled until the 116th Congress opens Jan. 3.

In the Senate, where the GOP remains in the majority, the committee rosters are finished, with some changes in the ranks of the now smaller Democratic minority.

Here are some highlights related to committees critical to the transportation construction industry:

  • Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), who had been ranking member of the Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, will replace Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), as chairman. Shuster was term-limited as chairman of T&I due to House GOP rules and did not seek re-election. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) will be the top Republican on the committee.
  • The tax-writing House Ways & Means Committee will be chaired by Rep. Richard E. Neil (D-Mass.). He replaces Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) who becomes ranking member.
  • Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) will remain chairman of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, which oversees highway program policy decisions. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) will continue as the ranking member.
  • Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) will chair the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is the new ranking member, replacing Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who lost his re-election bid.  The committee oversees aviation, rail and trucking policy in the Senate.
  • Sen Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) remains chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) stays as the ranking member.