I was joking with co-workers today that I woke up thinking about Ray LaHood. Except that I wasn’t joking. Since his cabinet-level appointment by President Obama as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, this former republican congressman from Illinois has been making serious moves toward creating a better nation through bicycling.
I was in D.C. when he jumped up on a table at a reception and shouted out a major change in policies and funding for bicycle infrastructure. (LaHood blogged about it here, while David mentioned it here.) For those of you who know U.S. DOT’s history of favoring highways over active transportation, this is a huge deal.
Of course, any major paradigm shift worth its weight has a slew of opposition (reported, for example, by Seattle’s Daily Journal of Commerce.) But this hasn’t kept him from speaking up.
He was interviewed this week by NPR about another idea: an interstate biking system much like the interstate highway system of the Eisenhower era. His thoughts?
“We’re elevating it to the point where as we develop new road systems, as we develop communities where people can use light rail or street cars or buses, bike trails and walking paths will be equal partners, if you will, and equal components of those kinds of transportation opportunities in communities across America.”
Dreamy. I heart Ray LaHood.