DOT Secretary LaHood Stepping Down

He announced the decision Jan. 29 and said he'll leave the post in February rather than serve during President Obama's second term.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Jan. 29 he will not stay on as secretary during President Obama's second term. He said he intends to leave the Department of Transportation in February.

LaHood's pending departure opens yet another cabinet or major agency leadership slot for the president to fill in the coming days. His nominee for State, Sen. John Kerry, was confirmed Jan. 29 by a 94-3 Senate vote, but Obama's choices for EPA, Labor, Interior, Treasury, and Defense either have not progressed as far or not yet been announced.

LaHood posted a statement on DOT's Fast Lane blog thanking DOT's employees for their service and congratulating them for a long list of accomplishments during the past four years. He provided a link to a document listing many of them, including FAA reauthorization, passage of the MAP-21 federal highways and infrastructure funding law, and publication of FAA's pilot fatigue final rule. The document is available at http://usdotblog.typepad.com/files/01-28-13-accomplishments-overview-u-s-department-of-transportation-final.pdf.

The White House posted a statement of thanks from the president: "I want to thank Secretary LaHood for his dedication, his hard work, and his years of service to the American people -– including the outstanding work he's done over the last four years as Secretary of Transportation. I also want to thank Ray for his friendship. Years ago, we were drawn together by a shared belief that those of us in public service owe an allegiance not to party or faction, but to the people we were elected to represent. And Ray has never wavered in that belief. As Secretary of Transportation, he has fought to create jobs and grow our economy by rebuilding our roads, bridges and transit systems. Under his leadership, we have made significant investments in our passenger rail system and laid the groundwork for the high-speed rail network of the future. And every American who travels by air, rail or highway can thank Ray for his commitment to making our entire transportation system safer and stronger. I am grateful to Ray for everything he's done, and I wish him only the best going forward."

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