(Hoboken, NJ -- WNYC) U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came to Hoboken Train Station to make a full-throated cry for Congress to pass the Senate's version of the federal surface transportation bill.
LaHood said the House version of the bill is inferior to the one just passed with 72 votes by the U.S. Senate, which he claimed would provide an annual $1 billion investment in roads and transit, fully restore the transit tax benefit and employ 54,000 workers in New Jersey.
LaHood called on Congressional Republican leaders to act quickly. "Speaker [John] Boehner, take the Senate bill," LaHood said himself a former Republican congressman, adding that the bill would pay for crucial road repairs.
"America is one big pothole," LaHood said. "We need this."
Flanking the secretary were Democratic elected officials from New Jersey. One of them, Senator Frank Lautenberg, challenged New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to convince his fellow Republicans to back the Senate bill.
"Governor Christie, don't be afraid," Lautenberg said. "Tell House Republicans to back away from the extreme Tea Party ideology and pass the Senate transportation bill."