Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the powerful Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, announced Friday that he will not seek reelection in 2014 after serving five terms in the U.S. Senate.
The committee has jurisdiction over public transit and highway safety regulations, as well as all regulation of interstate carriers, be they railroads, buses, trucks, marine vessels, pipelines or airlines.
Rockefeller played a key role in helping pass last year’s transportation reauthorization bill, MAP 21, or Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century.
It is unclear who would replace Rockefeller, 75, as Commerce Committee chairman, if the Democrats retain control of the Senate in the 2014 election.
New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) is among the prominent Democrats on the committee but his senate term expires in 2014 and there is speculation he may not seek reelection either.