Beyond the Bay

Change We’ll Believe In When We See It

Courtesy of

So now that outgoing Mary Peters will officially be replaced by Republican Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood as the new U.S. Secretary of Transportation, all we can say is: seriously? The news comes right on the heels of news that the much-anticipated federal stimulus package will be hastily applied to shovel-ready road projects that will only prompt more driving, and transit advocates have erupted in protest over President-Elect Obama’s excessive commitment to expanding our nation’s system of roads and bridges. Yours truly is not exactly a devoted fan of MTC’s Steve Heminger, who was one of the top candidates for the post, but he at least has a developed transportation record. For LaHood, there is a record, albeit a somewhat spotty one. Encouragingly, though, that record shows Ray LaHood crossing party lines on transportation issues. This year, he co-sponsored HR 6030, a bill that amends the Internal Revenue Code, allowing a tax credit for half of the cost an employer incurs to furnish its employees with tax-free transit passes. He voted in favor of Amtrak reauthorization and the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act, and he has advocated on behalf of bicyclists. That strikes us as more of a minimum for someone filling this post under an Obama cabinet; is that as good as we can do? LaHood has served on the House Appropriations Committee, but he has not worked specifically on funding for transit. Some have expressed optimism about his managerial skills. Still, what truly matters is the underlying policy that Obama will drive once he is in office. He has pledged in the past that he will to do battle with climate change, and we hope that Obama will not undermine the importance of the role for progressive transportation and land use policy in that battle. What does it say that Obama has chosen this appointment as a sacrifice to bipartisanism, and what does that reveal about Obama’s commitment, or lack thereof, to this increasingly critical issue? Quite a lot, we fear — but not too much, we continue to hope; we refer you to the title of this post. Update (19 Dec 2008): CQ transcript with brief LaHood blurb here.



3 thoughts on “Change We’ll Believe In When We See It

  1. Best piece i’ve read all day on Lahood.

    Posted by chris | 19 December 2008, 5:50 pm
  2. I think at this point it is clear that Obama is serious about bipartisanship, and we will have to wait for him to actually be President before knowing if he will act seriously on progressive causes, including non-car transportation.

    Posted by MikeD | 22 December 2008, 3:54 pm


  1. Pingback: Rescue Muni » Blog Archive » Long Mass Transit Wish List for Obama Administration - 26 December 2008

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


RSS Feed Facebook Twitter Flickr

Archives by Month

Archives by Topic

Archives of all blog posts, organized by topics and themes. Click here for more.


Links to some of our favorite urbanist and transit blogs, websites, advocacy groups, news sources, and government agencies. Click here for more.

If you are interested in California water issues, you may want to check out my other blog on that topic.

Copyright © 2007-2021 Transbay Blog.
%d bloggers like this: