President Donald Trump has nominated former Chicago alderman and Metra chairman Martin Oberman to a Democratic seat on the U.S. Surface Transportation board, the independent regulatory agency that resolves railroad rate and service disputes and reviews proposed railroad mergers.
The likelihood of the nomination was first tipped locally June 27 by the Chicago Transportation Journal. The nomination was officially posted Thursday on the White House website.
If approved by the Senate, Oberman will fill the remainder of a five-year term expiring Dec. 31, 2023. The open Democratic seat was voluntarily vacated in 2017 by former Chairman Dan Elliott.
Oberman emerged from a group of at least eight Democrats who were being considered for the last vacancy on the five-member regulatory board, which is the successor to the Interstate Commerce Commission. The agency also has oversight of certain trucking, intercity passenger bus and pipeline matters.
Oberman’s nomination got a strong push last month from the Rail Customer Coalition, an association of trade groups representing major freight rail users.
Oberman, 73, an attorney who built a reputation as a reformer while an alderman on Chicago’s City Council, was named to Metra’s board by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in September 2013. He was elected chairman in 2014, serving until last October, when Norm Carlson took the post.
Oberman also also serves on the board of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). Previously, he served as general counsel to the Illinois Racing Board. Oberman graduated from Yale University and earned his J.D. with honors from the University of Wisconsin Law School, the…