An obituary Dec. 7 about Arvid E. Roach II reported incorrectly the university from which he graduated in 1972. He graduated from Yale. (Published 12/09/1999)

Arvid E. Roach II, 48, a transportation law specialist who was a partner in the Washington law firm of Covington & Burling, died of cancer Dec. 5 at George Washington University Hospital. He lived in Alexandria.

Mr. Roach, who joined Covington & Burling in 1978, was a litigator and the author of technical articles on transportation law and legal ethics. Over the years, he had represented railroads, communications companies, financial institutions, state and local governments and death row inmates.

As a specialist in transportation law, he had represented the Union Pacific Railroad, helping to guide it through a series of merger proceedings before government regulatory bodies. He also directed the railroad's successful opposition to a proposed merger of the giant Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads.

Mr. Roach was a member of the American Law Institute, the Association for Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy, and the Transportation Lawyers Association. He had frequently addressed transportation and administrative law conferences.

His hobbies included collecting books and other publications on railroads and on economic history. He also belonged to numerous railroad historical groups.

Mr. Roach, who was born in Detroit, graduated from high school in Jamestown, N.Y., where he was a member of the New York state championship debate team. He was a 1972 summa cum laude graduate of Harvard University and a 1977 cum laude graduate of Harvard University law school.

Between college and law school, he had spent two years as director of New York Mayor John V. Lindsay's bureau of labor statistics. In 1977 and 1978, he clerked for Judge Thomas Griesa of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Survivors include his wife of 12 years, Carol Williams; two children, Liberty Roach and Arvid Roach III; and his mother, Alda E. Roach, all of Alexandria.