Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican member of the Cabinet, feigns being a blocking back for President Barack Obama as he arrives backstage to meet with GOP House leaders before speaking to their issues conference at the Renaissance Baltimore Harbor Place Hotel in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Ray LaHood announced Tuesday that he will be stepping down as transportation secretary as soon as a successor is confirmed. LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, pointed to substantial achievements during his time heading the Transportation Department, including safety and consumer protections. During President Obama's first term, the Transportation Department also played a major role in the economy, LaHood noted in his statement announcing his departure:
We helped jumpstart the economy and put our fellow Americans back to work with $48 billion in transportation funding from the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009, and awarded over $2.7 billion in TIGER grants to 130 transportation projects across the Nation.  We have made unprecedented investments in our nation’s ports.  And we have put aviation on a sounder footing with the FAA reauthorization, and secured funding in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act to help States build and repair their roads, bridges and transit systems.

And to further secure our future, we have taken transportation into the 21st century with CAFE Standards, NextGen, and our investments in passenger and High-Speed Rail.

"Years ago," the president said in a statement thanking LaHood for his service, "we were drawn together by a shared belief that those of us in public service owe an allegiance not to party or faction, but to the people we were elected to represent. And Ray has never wavered in that belief."

There's nothing more than speculation at this point about who might replace him, but for what it's worth, the New York Times mentions Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Debbie Hersman, and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:24 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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