Secretary of Immobility Ray LaHood has announced his intention to leave office as soon as a replacement can be found. Aside from an admirable emphasis on safety, LaHood’s main legacy will be a weakening of the cost-effectiveness requirements for transit grants so that, now, the most ridiculously expensive transit projects can get federal funding.
As a result, more than 100 metropolitan areas are lining up with proposals for insanely expensive rail projects. While this is good news to snobs who think that the only real transit is on rails, it is bad news for taxpayers as every rail project funded means money is being wasted that could otherwise have been put to good use.
Naturally, there is plenty of speculation about who Obama might select to replace LaHood. Some of the names include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer; and former Minnesota Representative James Oberstar, all of whom support the administration’s pro-transit, anti-auto agenda. The Antiplanner is hoping for Blumenauer, the current godfather of Portland’s light-rail mafia, as his move into another job would shake up Oregon’s power structure in ways that might prove positive in the end.