Obama Selects LaHood as Transportation Secretary

WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama has selected Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., to serve as the next transportation secretary.

“Congressman LaHood’s broad experience and well-known pragmatism make him an excellent choice to lead and support America’s transportation future,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters said. “There will be challenges, but there are also incredible opportunities to continue work to improve transportation safety, tackle congestion and promote mobility, expand global transportation opportunities, rebuild transportation systems after disasters, and continue fundamental transportation reform. I’m confident our nation’s transportation network will be in good hands under the leadership of Congressman LaHood.”

“The nation faces enormous transportation challenges. Capacity is an issue across all modes of transportation as is the need to maintain and improve existing infrastructure. Accomplishing all this while simultaneously reducing transportation’s carbon footprint will require a bi-partisan approach,” Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads said.

“Rep. LaHood is respected by members on both sides of the aisle and has a demonstrated ability to work with both Democrats and Republicans. His experience as a key member of the House Appropriations Committee will be invaluable, especially in these difficult economic times,” Hamberger added. “This background makes Ray LaHood uniquely qualified to lead the Department of Transportation at a time when transportation challenges have never been greater.

“Railroads — both freight and passenger — have much to offer in meeting those challenges and we look forward to working with Secretary-designate LaHood and the other transportation stakeholders in the coming months,” Hamberger said.