LaHood at the Press Club

Ray LaHood takes the right positions, even if he does not like to advertise it.

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s brief address to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Thursday got off to an inauspicious start for urbanists. He brought guests to sit on the dais from across the dirty energy industry, such as someone from U.S. coal publications and the CEO of Austin Bridge and Road, but no one representing mass transit. LaHood’s speech focused entirely on shilling for the success of the stimulus legislation at saving jobs and businesses. (Austin Bridge and Road turned out to be a prime example.) Environmental concerns, the health of American cities, the importance of building mass transit and linking it to affordable housing and walkable communities all went unmentioned.

But the journalists in attendance pushed LaHood to discuss his views of those issues and his answers were surprisingly forthright and encouraging. LaHood admitted he wants to discourage driving, talking up Portland (naturally), and multi-modal transit. He dismissed conservative objections to smart growth by joking that “the person with a problem is George Will,” and that “everything we do here is interference in people’s lives.” LaHood may have been a surprising appointment for transit enthusiasts, but he has shown that he has the right instincts, even more than his press shop wants to show.

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Ben Adler is a journalist in New York. He is a former reporter for Grist, The Nation, Newsweek and Politico, and he has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian and The New Republic.

Follow Ben

Tags: public transportationaustinray lahood

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 1106 other sustainers such as:

  • Anonymous at $5/Year
  • Brian at $60/Year
  • Paul at $120/Year

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    20th Anniversary Solutions of the Year magazine

has donated ! Thank you 🎉