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Sec. LaHood: “You have a full partner at the US DOT”

Posted by on March 11th, 2009 at 5:42 am

U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Ray LaHood addressed the National
Bike Summit this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Ray LaHood, President Obama’s Transportation Secretary kicked off the opening plenary at the National Bike Summit this morning.

LaHood, sporting the ubiquitous bike pin, made it clear that he symbolizes a new era of cooperation between the U.S. Department of Transportation and bike and active transportation advocates around the country. As I reported last night, LaHood is focused on the idea of “livable communities”.

At the outset of his remarks, he said, “I want all of you to know you have a full partner at the US DOT in working toward livable communities”. A key theme of LaHood’s remarks was that he and President Obama will work hard help make communities nicer places to walk and bike. LaHood said that he and Obama, “Will work toward an America where bikes are recognized to coexist with other modes and to safely share our roads and bridges.”

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“We are on the cusp of making more progress on these issues than ever before.”
— Transp. Sec. Ray LaHood

LaHood also shared a personal biking anecdote (which is standard for any politician speaking at the Summit). LaHood said he and his wife enjoy riding on the Rock Island Trail near his home in Peoria, Illinois. “It’s a magnificent thing,” he said, to see all the families and kids (with helmets on he was careful to mention).

One bright spot that did not go unnoticed by the crowd is that LaHood said he and other transportation officials plan to study European models of bike and walk-friendly facilities this spring (something Portland, New York City, and others have already been doing).

Earl Blumenauer (L) and Ray LaHood.

At the end of his speech, LaHood repeated his line about how the US DOT will be a “full partner to accomplish the things you want to do” and he added that, “We are on the cusp of making more progress on these issues than ever before.”

There is a lot of optimism in the room this morning. Finally, after years of clamoring for attention, it seems like the issues many people at this Summit care about now have real traction at the highest levels of the American political establishment.


This story is part of our special 2009 National Bike Summit coverage. For more coverage, follow BikePortland on Twitter and browse the latest photos in our Bike Summit photo gallery.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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BikePortland.org » Blog Archive » All set for the SummitTransportation Secretary LaHood Gets It! « The Bike Lane BlogThe Bike Pittsburgh Blog Archives » The nation’s bike advocates storm the castle at the National Bike Summit, DCThe Bike Pittsburgh Blog Archives » The Headlines: 3.13.09Early Man Recent comment authors
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Marion
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Marion

What a GREAT story to wake up to! I really hope that bikes as real transportation options spreads throughout the country and that real money is made available for this..
Keep up the great work Jonathan!

Cezar
Guest

This is amazing. I was skeptical of LaHood for a while, but this, and hopefully the follow up action, has made my day.

Lance P.
Guest
Lance P.

I’m pretty shock, and pleased. As a kid, I grew up in IL. I never expected this from a Republican from central IL. Makes you dream… if he can change then maybe, just maybe, the rest of them can change as well.

Great work.

Coyote
Guest
Coyote

Very encouraging 🙂

Scott
Guest

Yes, it does sound good. I am looking forward to words being put into actions and $$.

nuovorecord
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nuovorecord

If you ever doubt that your vote counts for something, please refer back to this post. 🙂

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[…] BikePortland’s Jonathan Maus is down in D.C. today for the National Bike Summit, where Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood gave the opening address this morning. From Maus’s recap: […]

Paul Tay
Guest

Never hurts to have Mr. Earmark on your side, right?

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[…] BikePortland’s Jonathan Maus is in D.C. today for the National Bike Summit, where Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood gave the opening address this morning. From Maus’s recap: […]

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

Hey Paul, yes it does and we are happy! Go back to researching whether Obama is a citizen and leave us alone.

Early Man
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Early Man

After reading this, I am warming up to his ideas on a mileage tax to supplement the gas tax. Once people are plugging in their cars there will be fewer disincentives for driving. But if people are taxed for every mile they drive, something that is now only crudely accomplished with a gas tax, the only way to escape the tax man (listening Paul?) will be to ride a bike.

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[…] Sec. LaHood: “You have a full partner at the US DOT” Bike Portland […]

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[…] Secretary of Transportation, Ray Lahood. Secretary Lahood, wearing a bike button, started his speech by ensuring us that we “have a full partner at the US DOT in working toward livable […]

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[…] is underway. I think I conveyed that excitement to the summit, judging by the early response (BikePortland.org, […]

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[…] Obama just getting settled into the White House and his Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood riling up the crowd with promises of partnership. This year I hope we send a clear signal that we’re done with promises — it’s […]