Archive for the ‘ray lahood’ Category

Ray-of-Hope LaHood reinventing transportation model

June 18, 2009

Above, from left to right: CNT Vice President of Policy Jacky Grimshaw, I-GO Car Sharing CEO Sharon Feigon, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, and CNT CEO Kathryn Tholin at the Union League Club in Chicago, where LaHood spoke in May.

Who knew what to think of Ray LaHood when Obama appointed him? Turns out, writes Kaid Benfield of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Secretary of Transportation is quite progressive, indeed, and is adopting the integrated sustainability model long advocated by I-GO’s parent org, the Center for Neighborhood Technology—apparent in such current projects as CNT’s Housing & Transportation Affordability Index. LaHood talks about “location efficiency”; so do we. Seems like a Ray of hope to us.

Keepin’ it rail in the Midwest

February 23, 2009

Seems our previous blog post on high-speed rail’s future prospects was a bit prescient. Check out this AP piece in the Chicago Tribune today on how Chicago, as a hub, stands to score more high-speed-rail funds thanks to early support from Obama and other Illinois pols in his cabinet (notably Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood).

Looks like Nevada and California—which want a high-speed line connecting Las Vegas and Anaheim—might be the caboose in this scenario.

Excerpted from the article:

Howard Learner, president of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center, a group promoting a Midwest high-speed rail network, said his area is in excellent position to capture a good chunk of that money. The Federal Railroad Administration, he said, has recognized the Midwest initiative connecting Chicago and 11 metropolitan areas within 400 miles as the system most ready to go.

He and others brushed aside claims that the $8 billion was set aside for Reid’s favorite. Obama, who expressed strong interest in high-speed rail investment during the campaign, and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, are both from Chicago. Obama’s transportation secretary, Ray Lahood, also is from Illinois. So is the Senate’s no. 2 Democrat, Richard Durbin.

A WPA-type high-speed-rail project in the Land of Lincoln, the original rail splitter? Somehow apropos, isn’t it?

Then again, we’re talking years and years of construction and development.

Meantime, why don’t we all take a cue from the bike- and hike-friendly Rails to Trails Conservancy, and try to drive some funds their way as well? Those repurposed dilapidated tracks, like Chicago’s imminent Bloomingdale Trail, could be fixed up a whole lot quicker.

(Above photo, of Obama-Biden whistle-stop tour during their election campaign, from Time Inc.)