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12/18/2008 3:45:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Rep. Ray LaHood Is Obama’s Choice for DOT Secretary

Office of Rep. Ray LaHood

President-elect Barack Obama is set to name retiring Illinois Republican Rep. Ray LaHood as his transportation secretary, several news outlets reported.

Citing sources, Bloomberg News and other outlets reported late Wednesday that LaHood would be formally named by the end of the week.

LaHood’s district includes the Peoria, Ill., headquarters of diesel engine maker Caterpillar Inc., which recently made a decision to exit the heavy-duty truck engine market by 2010.

In 2002, the moderate Republican led an unsuccessful charge to get the Environmental Protection Agency to delay implementation of rules cutting emissions from diesel trucks.

LaHood, who did not seek re-election last month, has been known for his willingness to criticize his own party and to work with Democrats, Bloomberg said. He is a former member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and currently sits on the House Appropriations Committee.

In 2005, LaHood cited the importance of infrastructure spending, which has become a priority for Obama as he develops an economic stimulus plan, to the economy.

Calling the most recent highway bill “a much-needed boost to our economy from the federal government,” LaHood said the $268.4 billion spending package would “put people to work, increasing tax revenue to help address our state’s huge budget hole, and helping to move the economy of Illinois in the right direction.”

Rod Nofziger, director of government affairs for the Owner-Operator Indepedent Drivers Assocation called LaHood’s apparent nomination “a pleasant surprise.”

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By Sean McNally
Senior Reporter

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