Thursday, November 4, 2010

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood talks about livable communities

From: Grist

by Sarah Goodyear

When Ray LaHood was nominated by President Obama to be the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT), it seemed like an afterthought. The selection of LaHood, a Republican Congressman from Illinois with a reputation for political pragmatism, was seen by many as a gesture at bipartisanship that indicated just how little the administration cared about possible innovations at the DOT.

Over at Worldchanging, Alex Steffen called the appointment "a profoundly uninspiring vote for business as usual," and at Streetsblog, where I worked at the time, Aaron Naparstek wrote this:

The selection of a downstate Illinois Republican with close ties to highway lobby stalwart Caterpillar Inc. is being taken by many as a clear sign that progressive transportation policy is, for now, nowhere near the top of the Obama's agenda.

What a difference 20 months makes.

LaHood has proven to be much more than a roads-and-bridges secretary. He's been an outspoken and articulate proponent of high-speed rail. He's mounted an aggressive campaign against distracted driving. He's jumped up on a table to address the National Bike Summit, saying that, "I really came here just to say thank you to all of you for hanging in there with us. You all have made a big difference."

The Rest of the story

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