Ray LaHood Stays On As Transportation Secretary
Jeff Plungis reports that LaHood publicly announced his intention to remain in the cabinet at a Washington D.C. party following President Obama's inauguration on Jan. 21. The announcement comes with some surprise considering that even Bloomberg News had reported last November that "(t)he current secretary, Ray LaHood, is probably stepping down in 2013.
As recent as last week, "LaHood declined to say whether he would stay or go". In fact, all he said was that "he will be 'sticking around for a while,' without specifying," wrote Plungis.
I don’t have anything new to add beyond what has been said publicly,” Justin Nisly, a Transportation Department spokesman, said in an e-mail (on Jan. 22).
LaHood has been Obama’s principal advocate for increased infrastructure spending the president has said is needed to heal the U.S. economy. That includes the president’s vision for high- speed passenger rail, which was stalled by Congress’s refusal to keep paying for it.
While there was no mention of the secretary's announcement to continue his tenure leading the Department Of Transportation in his Fast Lane blog, it did post recent developments in High Speed Rail this month:
(On Jan. 16), the California High Speed Rail Authority announced that by the end of the week the state would receive final sealed bids for the first leg of the Golden State's high-speed rail project. On the following day, Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority jointly issued a "Request For Information" seeking to purchase high-speed rail locomotives and passenger cars currently being manufactured and in commercial service that are capable of operating safely at speeds up to 220 mph.
The joint train order will be for the Northeast Corridor serviced by Acela service and California's high speed rail project, reports Kevin Freking of the Associated Press.