LaHood Heaps More Criticism on "Lousy" House Transpo Bill

Monday, February 13, 2012 - 04:09 PM

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (US DOT Photo)

C'mon, Mr. Secretary, now tell us how you really feel.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has already called the House Transportation bill "the most partisan ever" and the "worst bill in decades," heaped more criticism on the GOP-sponsored bill.

"The House has a lousy bill.  It takes us back to the dark ages," LaHood, a former Republican Congressman, said on a conference call with reporters to discuss President Obama's proposed 2013 budget. "It doesn't reflect the transportation values of the country."

LaHood said Republican Congress members have already started to defect.  "I was delighted when I read that Republican members from Illinois said they would not support [House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair John] Mica's bill unless transit funding was put back in... They were stunned at the way this was done."

A number of GOP house members around the country have objected to the bill's provision to no longer support transit from the gas tax, but put it in the general fund, instead.

"When I served on the transportation committee, we passed two transportation bills with more than 400 votes in the House and more than 80 in the Senate."

Mica "has heard from his members, both moderates and conservative. He's got people on all sides saying they're not going to vote for it. Not one Democrat will vote for [it].  Not one.  If you get a handful of conservatives and a handful of moderates, there's no way for it to get to 218."

LaHood's remarks came as he was touting the President's own $476 billion surface transportation bill, part of the 2013 budget.  That proposal contains continued funding for high speed rail ($47 billion), $50 billion in "immediate investments" to "improve America's raods, bridges, transit systems, border crossings, railways, and runways."  And it would continue funding for TIGER grants, which have been heavily criticized by the House GOP.

LaHood said despite the fact that both the House and the Senate are expected to vote this week on their respective -- and far-apart -- transportation bills, "we're all at the starting gate. The House is considering their bill, the Senate is considering their bill, we're putting out our bill. "

As for the house bill "Lookit -- it's just a lousy bill, it hollows out all of our safety plans.  It's a lousy bill."


Comments [2]

Jamie Dowd

Both sides of the isle are way out of line!
Do we need Public transportaion? Yes Can we afford it in its current form? No.

We need to devolpe a coordinated network of public transportation in this country. Subsidizing buses and rail at the same time so that they split a market of passengers that is already to small to support them is idiotic!

If we are going to invest in public transportation, we need to be smart about it!

By ensuring that the existing market of passengers are all using one, frquent, low cost mode for their transportation needs.

If it's going to be rail, FINE, get rid of the subsidized buses on that corridor. If it's going to be Buses, stop waisting billions of dollars on rail.

Additionally, the current design, weather it's rail or bus needs to be rethought. There is a much larger market of passengers willing to use public transportation but not in it's current form.

There are many ways to provide new means of cost access to the existing public transportation system that would triple ridership and the associted revenue required to run these public transportation systems.

Think about it. Steve Jobs turned our phones into banking terminals, GPS devices, mini-computers, cameras and video recorders as well as a hundred other applications that none of us ever thought would be possibe 20 years ago.

Other than new equipment and intermodal facilities that the existing bus / train business model is unable to pay for, public transportation has not changed it's business model in 70 years or more.

Wake up washington. Stop pointing fingers and "Steve Jobs" the transportation system.

Republicans, if you don't believe global warming is real, then you can at least agree that we need to reduce our need for foreign oil.

Democrats, Are you paying attention to what is happening in Greece? If you keep spending money on things that you say we need without having the money to pay for it, we will be in the same postion in another 10 years.

Feb. 14 2012 03:30 PM
David Nice

Secretary LaHood's comments are right on the money. The House bill wants to prepare our transportation system for the 1950s, but that time passed by already. We need to be doing a better job reducing traffic congestion, reducing pollution, reducing our consumption of oil, and expanding transportation options for older Americans, many of whom eventually cannot drive very comfortably and find air travel difficult. Increasing our reliance on cars and trucks on our roads and highways isn't very sensible.

Feb. 14 2012 12:15 AM

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