Secretary LaHood's Legacy: Stronger, Safer Transportation Choices for All Americans
This morning, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced his intention to step down from his position as soon as his successor is confirmed. Reconnecting America thanks him for his work and will be sorry to see him go. Secretary LaHood has been a champion for transportation policies that will benefit every American, whether they use roads, buses, rails, bicycles, or their own two feet to get where they need to go.
Secretary LaHood is a former Republican Congressman who has served under a Democratic President. As Reconnecting America's President and CEO, John Robert Smith, a former Republican Mayor, has often stated, "There are no red or blue potholes." The Secretary's ability to work across the aisle and garner bipartisan support for transportation funding and reform is a credit to his belief in the critical role of our nation's infrastructure and the importance in finding innovative ways to offer transportation choices to all.
Secretary LaHood had many laudable accomplishments during his tenure. As part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, Secretary LaHood made sure that the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program was not bound by traditional silos. As a result, TIGER has supported a multimodal set of projects, in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. He developed a groundbreaking partnership with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, which aligned disparate federal policies into a single set of goals. The Secretary also spearheaded a federal commitment to developing high-speed and improved intercity passenger rail service. Under his leadership, the Department has supported construction or improvements to 6500 miles of rail corridors and upgrades to 40 stations.
Secretary LaHood, when he steps down from office, will be missed. His presence within the department in Washington, his work with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, his travel across the country, his commitment to cities and neighborhoods that were in need of infrastructure improvements, and his open communication through blogging and other social media have all proven him to be one of the most high profile Secretaries of Transportation in recent decades. He has elevated transportation in the national conversation; so much so that President Obama mentioned it in his recent inaugural address. We wish the Secretary well in his future endeavors, and we hope that the Department will carry his legacy forward through the President's second term and beyond.