Obama Letdown

Santa Ana Freeway

The Santa Ana Freeway - Will LaHood work for mass transit alternatives or expansion and induced demand?

I was well aware that President-elect Obama wouldn’t be able to live up to the high expectations that many people, including myself, had of him.  This week, however, has been a particularly rough one.  Monday’s announcement of his “Green Team” was lacking a Transportation Secretary.  As Streetsblog reports,

“Obama still hasn’t made the transportation – land use – climate connection,” Petra Todorovich, director of Regional Plan Association’s America 2050 program said. “It’s clear he’s thinking about these things in separate categories.”

When he did fill the spot, public transportation and livable streets advocates were not particularly pleased.  Most sources report LaHood to be pretty cozy with the highway lobby.  It’s disappointing to have such a valuable spot in the cabinet go to a politician who is not very progressive.  Again, from the Streetsblog report:

“This sends the message that the transportation secretary is a throw-away political appointment who doesn’t matter,’ said a city transportation official who, like others, asked to remain anonymous to preserve their relationship with the U.S. DOT. “This is the slot for the token Republican. It’s the bottom of the barrel. A bone you can throw.”

And to top it all off, it comes out that Rick Warren will be given the honor of giving the inauguration’s invocation.  I apologize on behalf of Orange County, but at least the conversations behind the decision have been made public.

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