By ELLEN ENDO, Rafu Shimpo

The Little Tokyo/Arts District Regional Connector station, scheduled to open later this year, will be dedicated in honor of the late Norman Y. Mineta, former U.S. secretary of transportation and Japanese American National Museum Board of Trustees chair, it was announced by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors.

Norman Mineta

Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and Mayor Eric Garcetti co-authored the motion at Metro’s June 23 board meeting. It directs Metro Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Wiggins to prepare a plan for dedicating the Regional Connector station. Supervisor Janice Hahn seconded the motion.

Once it opens, the station is expected to bring thousands of new visitors to and through Little Tokyo and the Arts District. The project will tie together the Metro A (Blue), E (Expo), and L (Gold) Lines. Eventually, the L Line will be phased out, meaning that the Pasadena-Foothill Gold Line will become the A Line, and the Eastside Gold Line will become the E Line.

“In many ways, including serving the first Asian American Cabinet member in the White House, Secretary Mineta has broken many glass ceilings,” the motion stated. “A national treasure and dedicated member of the Japanese American community, Secretary Mineta’s legacy will carry on.”

While serving in Congress, Mineta championed legislation promoting and furthering justice. Today, all public transit buses are universally accessible because of his leadership in shaping the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He was also a co-sponsor of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

This represents the second time Mineta has been honored with the naming of public property. In November 2002, San Jose International Airport was named for Mineta, who participated in discussions during the development of both the Regional Connector and West Santa Ana Branch projects.

The motion garnered widespread support from local community-based organizations, including the Little Tokyo Business Association, Japanese American National Museum, Chinese American Museum, Little Tokyo Community Council, Japanese American Citizens League-Downtown L.A. Chapter, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, Eco-Rapid Transit, and Little Tokyo Legacy Foundation.

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