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June 3, 2013 11:00 AM, EDT

N.J. Sen. Lautenberg Dies at 89

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a longtime leading transportation policymaker during his three decades in the Senate, died Monday morning of complications from pneumonia, news reports said. He was 89.

Lautenberg championed infrastructure investment and highway safety and staked out a strong position against heavier, longer trucks. He also advocated tougher laws to crack down on drunk driving.

Lautenberg, who led the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee subcommittee responsible for surface transportation, focused much of his work since he was first elected in 1982 to improving passenger rail service and infrastructure.

The last remaining World War II veteran in the Senate, Lautenberg announced in February that he would not seek re-election next year.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will name a successor to replace one of the Democratic Party’s staunchest voices, CBS News reported on its website.

The latest transportation reauthorization, MAP-21, contains a provision backed by Lautenberg directing the U.S. Department of Transportation to launch a comprehensive truck size and weight study.

The law also includes another provision championed by Lautenberg that requires all trucks and buses to have electronic logging devices to keep drivers compliant with federal hours-of-service regulations.