Ray Lahood as Transportation Secretary?

The New York Times is reporting that Ray LaHood, a Republican congressman from Illinois, is at the top of the list for considerations for Transportation Secretary.

First comment: what does this say about President-elect Obama’s interest in transporation if he’s willing to put a Republican in the top spot here? Does this mean that the answers to all transportation questions can be found at the bipartisan level? We would answer no, considering years-long opposition from Republicans to financing transit and intercity rail. But we hope that Mr. Obama sees something else in Mr. LaHood.

Mr. LaHood’s voting record on environmental and transportation issues has been good, which indicates that he won’t stand in the way of more funding for the issues we care about here.

And yet, this man, who hasn’t ever made a major stand for transportation issues, doesn’t seem like the best choice for a cabinet position at the transportation department. Prove us wrong.

3 replies on “Ray Lahood as Transportation Secretary?”

Hugely disappointing. I know nothing of Rep. LaHood, but this certainly seems like a throwaway gesture toward Republicans. I can’t think of a single Republican anywhere who is supportive of mass transit – it’s antithetical to their “principles.” Plus LaHood’s district is rural Illinois – not Cook county. Terrible terrible signs.

For a guy who campaigned on the promise of change Obama is sure looking like someone who plans to be as uncontroversial as possible. Has there ever been a progressive transportation secretary? Ever? I guess we should never get our hopes up.

I guess its to be expected that an electorate that was wooed by symbolism is just as worried about the symbolism of power.

And, this district is not really rural. Yeah it has a huge rural component, miles and miles of completely flat, well drained, three-foot deep, black loam top soil. The best farm land in the world. But it is also the heart of the industrial mid-west. The home of Caterpillar and Richard Pryor. Transportation is more than trolleys, bike lanes and BRT. Transportation is at least an equal part freight, railroads, barges and trucking. This district has all that. The industrial meltdown America faces has a huge transportation component.

I would have preferred Oberstar, even Nadler and although I think J. Sadik-Khan is absolutely brilliant she is working for a Mayor that is totally comfortable with converting what remains of industrial New York into condos as quickly possible. The swing voters who work in factories in the mid-west deserve to be recognized here too.

I supported Hillary and didn’t have great hopes for Obama. I’m hoping for a couple decent Supreme Court appointments, thats about it. The main issue for the economy is how to push through a carbon tax and what to use the money for. Maybe this guy will do it. Who knows? But I don’t think LaHood’s political pedigree is all that determinative in this regard.

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