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Directions in Highway Safety, Winter 2009 Cover Page Download Newsletter pdf
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Winter 2009 | Vol. 12 | No. 1

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Former Congressman Ray LaHood Confirmed as DOT Secretary

President Barack Obama has chosen former Illinois Congressman Ray LaHood to serve as his Transportation Secretary. LaHood, one of two Republican members of President Barack Obama's Cabinet, is recognized around Washington for his practical, non-partisan approach.

The new Secretary will take lead responsibility on the transportation programs in the economic stimulus package the Obama Administration hopes to enact as well as in the highway reauthorization. LaHood served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee during the 1990s, and then on the House Appropriations Committee.

Ray LaHood

In his confirmation hearing, LaHood said safety would be one of his four areas of focus. The others are the economy, sustainability and a focus on people and communities.

House Transportation Committee chairman James Oberstar (D-MN), who will also have an influential role in any future transportation legislation, commended LaHood's "temperament" and "managerial expertise." Referring to his tenure on the Transportation Committee, Oberstar said LaHood "was a team player all the way through."

GHSA Chairman Vernon F. Betkey, Jr. praised the LaHood choice and indicated that this pragmatic, non-political approach was the best way to address the difficult challenges expected in the highway reauthorization.

LaHood served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1982 to 1994 and represented Illinois' 18th district, which includes Peoria, from 1994 through 2008. He did not seek re-election in 2008.