According to the Washington Post, President-Elect Obama has named Ray LaHood (R-Il) to serve as his Transportation Secretary. I certainly haven’t seen his name pop up on any lists alongside more prominent names like Oberstar and Blumenauer, and I think it’s safe to say that he was a dark horse candidate to fill the role. Aside from being a representative from Peoria, Illinios for 13 years and sitting on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, he doesn’t appear to have much of a background of mixing it up in transportation issues, which is surprising to many in the blogosphere.
From Progress Illinios…
“Ray Lahood? Really?!?” That was the reaction from the transportation and community development coordinator at the Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology when I relayed the news that the retiring seven-term Republican congressman from Peoria was being considered as Secretary of Transportation in the incoming Obama administration. “You’ve left me totally dumbfounded. Ray LaHood?”
From Ryan Avent at Gristmill…
This makes no sense at all to me. As I see it, then, there are three possibilities:
- Obama doesn’t intend the DOT secretary to do the heavy lifting on his transportation policies,
- Obama doesn’t really care about transportation, and
- It isn’t true.
Based on the limited knowledge I have to hand, I’m going to go with No. 3. I suspect this is not going to be his pick.
Sorry Ryan, but it sounds like it’s either #1 or #2.
Streetsblog notes that he’s got a history of crossing party lines and supporting funding for transit…
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.
I’m sure more information will be trickling out about LaHood’s transportation record in the coming days, so stay tuned. There is one thing I know for sure, and it’s that Rep. LaHood faces some pretty daunting challenges. I hope he’s ready.