Since you probably don’t want to sift through 607 pages:
- Our two Amtrak requests are on page 242.
- Washington State street projects begin on Page 501, and some of them are transit-related, including BAT lanes on Aurora and the Spokane St. Viaduct.
- The list of explicitly transit-related projects begins and ends on page 525, and it’s kind of pathetic. The big fish are $150m for the D & M street rail bridge for Sounder and Amtrak, and $30m for a new “transit-oriented garage” in Auburn. Also: BAT lanes on Rainier Avenue in Renton!
New Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was formally announced today. The relevant sections of Obama’s remarks are after the jump.
Standing up for our workers means putting them back to work and fueling economic growth. Our economy boomed in the 20th Century when President Eisenhower remade the American landscape by building the interstate highway system. Now we need to remake our transportation system for the 21st Century. Doing so will not only help us meet our energy challenge by building more efficient cars, buses, and subways or make Americans safer by rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges – it will create millions of new jobs in the process.
Few understand our infrastructure challenge better than the outstanding public servant I am asking to lead the Department of Transportation – Ray LaHood. As a Congressman from Illinois, Ray served six years on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, leading efforts to modernize our aviation system by renewing our aging airports and ensuring that air traffic controllers were using cutting edge technology. Throughout his career, Ray has fought to improve mass transit and invest in our highways. But he has not only helped rebuild our landscape, he has helped beautify it by creating opportunities for bikers and runners to enjoy our great outdoors. When I began this appointment process, I said I was committed to finding the best person for the job, regardless of party. Ray’s appointment reflects that bipartisan spirit – a spirit we need to reclaim in this country to make progress for the American people.
I don’t really have anything to say about his remarks, but I’ll take the opportunity to state that I’m not expecting a huge push from the administration to end the nation’s emphasis on roads, make the car obsolete, or any of the other more radical goals of public transportation advocates. The postwar consensus in favor of the auto is a bipartisan one, and there are only so many transformations of American society that one administration can successfully execute. It’s clear that the emphasis will be on the economy, the wars, health care, and climate change. I’d expect Obama, Biden, and LaHood to help out at the margins with appointments and such, but those who are really disappointed in the LaHood pick should probably modulate their expectations.