LaHood Appears Before Senate Panel

Secretary of Transportation appointee Ray LaHood spoke to the Senate today about Amtrak, toll roads, and sustainability.
January 22, 2009, 2pm PST | Tim Halbur
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"LaHood said that raising automobile fuel efficiency standards will be "one way for us to really overcome some of the pollution that exists around the country." Tighter standards, he said, should "be a part of the overall plan here to eliminate pollution, the greening of America, and getting the American car manufacturers in the game here with the reality that they need to be producing American cars that get much better standards."

Asked about his support for Amtrak, LaHood pledged to work with Congress to implement the funding bill that approved last year. "I think it's the way forward to get us as comprehensive as we can an Amtrak system in this country," said LaHood. "During my 14 years in Congress, in the House, I had been a strong supporter of Amtrak. It's the lifeblood for many, many communities around the country, and I will work with all of you to implement the Amtrak bill. I think it's a good bill."

He was also asked for his ideas on how to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, which was has been nearly depleted as a spike in gas prices through much of 2008 prompted Americans to drive less. He mentioned putting tolls on new highways and new lanes, and on bridges, as possible solutions, and said that relying on a gas tax will not be enough.

"We need to think about these things differently than just the gasoline tax," said LaHood."

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Published on Thursday, January 22, 2009 in Grist
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