Chairman; Surface Transportation Board
Martin J. Oberman was designated Chairman of the Surface Transportation Board by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on January 21, 2021. Marty was sworn in as a member of the Board on January 22, 2019. He is serving in his first, five-year term following his confirmation by the United States Senate on January 2, 2019. His current term expires December 31, 2023.
Marty has had an extensive career in both the public and private sectors. His first public position was serving as the first General Counsel to the Illinois Racing Board from 1973 to 1974, where he worked closely with the Board’s chairman to bring long needed reforms to the Illinois horse racing industry.
From 1975-1987, Marty served on the Chicago City Council as Alderman of the City’s 43rd Ward where he earned a reputation as a reform leader, committed to promoting transparency in key governing processes while also working to reduce government corruption and profligate spending.
Following his departure from the Council, the Mayor of Chicago appointed Marty as Chairman of a special commission to fix Chicago”s eroding shoreline, which required collaboration with an extensive set of stakeholders, and resulted in the publication of formal recommendations, many of which have since been implemented.
In 2013, Marty was appointed to the board of Metra, the Chicago region’s commuter railroad, the second largest in the U.S. In 2014, he was unanimously elected Metra chairman and served until the end of 2016. While at Metra, he gained approval for the agency’s first long term fare program aimed at tackling the agency’s multi-billion-dollar state-of-good-repair backlog, and led the Board’s effort to institute transparency and professional management in an effort to overcome an historic culture of politics and patronage abuses at the railroad.
Most recently, he served on the board of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) until November 2018.
Since 1975, Marty also maintained a successful practice in Chicago as both a trial and appellate lawyer.
His unique combination of litigation experience, elected public service, and exposure to the significant complexities of railroad infrastructure finance and operations will inform his work as a Member of the Surface Transportation Board.
Marty graduated from Yale University and the University of Wisconsin Law School, cum laude, and served as a Note Editor of the Wisconsin Law Review. He has been married to his wife, Bonnie, since 1971, and has two children, and three grandchildren. Marty is a native of Springfield, Illinois.