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LaHood closes in on Senate confirmation as U.S. transportation secretary


Former Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) appears to be a “sure bet” to succeed Mary Peters as U.S. transportation secretary, according to news item posted on the United Transportation Union’s Web site.

Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee approved LaHood’s nomination during a two-hour confirmation hearing. If confirmed by the entire Senate, he would head the 60,000-employee U.S. Department of Transporation and its modal agencies that regulate rail safety, administer Amtrak funding, and regulate railroad mergers, abandonments and rates.

At his confirmation hearing, LaHood expressed strong support for Amtrak and increased funding for the national intercity passenger railroad. He also backed plans for new freight transportation infrastructure spending and increased transit spending via an economic stimulus package.

LaHood, 63, had represented Illinois’ 18th congressional district from November 1994 to December 2008. He left his House post on Jan. 2. LaHood previously served as chief of staff for House Minority Leader Robert Michel (R-Ill.) and was a member of Illinois’ House.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/22/2009