Obama Picks Republican Illinois Congressman to Lead USDOT

lahood.jpgPhoto: Wikipedia

(Aaron Naperstek over at NYC Streetsblog carries the news that it’s official: Little known Congressman Ray LaHood will be the next Secretary of Transportation.  The post below lists some of the discussion surrounding LaHood from earlier today)

The Hill
is reporting that Illinois Representative Ray LaHood, described as a
centrist Republican, is in talks with the Obama team about taking a
Cabinet post, most likely as Secretary of Transportation. The official
announcement could be made as early as Friday.

If LaHood is chosen, it would come as something of a surprise, as his name has so far escaped widely circulated short lists
for the position. His district includes Peoria and Springfield, and he
did not seek re-election this year. His recent voting record indicates a willingness to buck the party line on transportation measures: This year he supported the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act and the Passenger Rail Investment Act. We’ll have more on this potential selection as the story develops.

  • Via Transportation uber activist Ken Ruben, a link that seems to confirm LaHood is taking the job:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/12/17/lahood_accepts_transportation.html?hpid=topnews

  • don’t know this guy… but i think obama blew it. this is a homer pick for sure. i was really crossing my fingers for an oberstar or blumenauer pick.

    boo.

  • Stephen

    I was crossing my fingers for Heminger. Yeah, he’s botched the Translink integration up in the Bay, but come on… more funds for California!

  • “more funds for California!”

    Not necessarily. When you take a job with a wider scope often you face a lot of scrutiny over whether you are favoring the hometown team. A California Transportation Commissioner from Glendale named Larry Zarian once described at a Metro Citizens’ Advisory Council meeting how in evaluating proposals he had to take into account the big picture and resist being parochial.

    I think we should keep in mind that Obama is very interested in transportation, both for economic purposes and quality of life. Come on –the guy rides a bike for recreation, so he gets it! Whereas the Bush Team had little interest in transportation or urban issues. A visionary would have been nice but I still expect good things from the new USDOT versus the extreme actions we have had to put up with these past few years.

  • I’m not willing to give Obama a pass just because he’s a recreational bike rider. After all, Bush rode a bike to pass the time too…

    The people that know LaHood from Illinois seem cautiously optimistic. I hope they know something we don’t.

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