Ray LaHood the current Secretary of Transportation announced on Tuesday he was resigning and his departure signifies that President Obama is losing one of his trusted leaders for the high-speed railroad the president has pushed so hard for. LaHood is also a staunch defender of the president’s stimulus spending.
The appetite of Congress for the $53 billion proposal of Obama to bring high-speed trains within the reach of most Americans waned since an initial $10 billion was appropriated for the high-speed system along with the intercity rail in Obama’s first term. However, LaHood’s dedication remained rock solid in favor of the plan.
LaHood loved to tell people that America was getting high-speed rail. He said it continuously, even during appearances last year. LaHood is tenacious in defending the transportation administration’s spending related to stimulus. He recounted routinely how stimulus had created new jobs and kept roads and bridges going during the lackluster economy.
It is still unknown if the replacement for LaHood will be one of Obama’s vocal supporters of the president’s big spending dreams for transportation, but there is one indisputable fact: The replacement will have to fight with the same funding problems for transit and highway that marked the tenure of LaHood.
Congresses band-aid approach on transit and highway funding is due to be torn off next year with no obvious solution in sight.
The Transportation Secretary said that Obama asked him to remain in his position and LaHood said he had had mixed feelings about stepping down from what he called the best job he ever has had. He also said Obama praised his work at the DOT.