Obama on LaHood: "He’s created opportunities for bikers and runners to enjoy our great outdoors."
President Elect Barack Obama announced his picks for Trade, Labor, Transportation and Small Business posts for his administration at a press conference this afternoon.
Of primary interest to readers of this site is the selection of Congressman Ray LaHood from Peoria, Illinois as his Secretary of Transportation. Obama highlighted LaHood's six years on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and his efforts to modernize and upgrade the commercial aviation system. He also noted LaHood's efforts to improve mass transit and "beautify" the public landscape so "bikers and runners to enjoy our great outdoors."
At the press conference, LaHood focused on his work improving the highway infrastructure in Illinois and his plans for the rest of the nation. "We cannot stand by our infrastructure ages and crumbles," said LaHood. "We must pursue solid policies that allow our states and communities to address their transportation needs. We have a tremendous opportunity before us to rebuild our infrastructure and reinvigorate our economy, and I look forward to the challenge."
As he listed the areas of public infrastructure that need attention, LaHood noted public transportation before mentioning the highways. "As a nation, we need to continue to be the world leader in infrastructure development, Amtrak, mass transit, light rail, air travel, and our roads and bridges all play a vital role in our economy and our well-being as a nation."
Obama made it very clear that LaHood and the Department of Transportation would be play a key role in any kind of economic recovery plan for the nation. An economic stimulus package "is going to cost a significant amount of money on the front end," said Obama. "What we want to do is make sure that in spending that money to help jump-start the economy and put 2.5 million people back to work, that we are also looking at the long term. And that’s where Ray LaHood , myself, and others on the economic team are going to be changing how business is done in Washington."