Ray LaHood blasted House Republicans’ highway bill on Thursday.
By BURGESS EVERETT | 2/2/12 12:07 PM EST Updated: 2/3/12 5:51 AM EST
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday the House GOP’s highway spending plan is “the worst transportation bill” he’s seen in decades.
“This is the most partisan transportation bill that I have ever seen,” LaHood said in an exclusive interview with POLITICO.
“And it also is the most anti-safety bill I have ever seen. It hollows out our No. 1 priority, which is safety, and frankly, it hollows out the guts of the transportation efforts that we’ve been about for the last three years,” LaHood added. “It’s the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service.”
The $260 billion, five-year House bill would cut Amtrak subsidies and increases truck weight limits, leading safety and environment advocates to assail the legislation.
The former GOP congressman said that during his 14 years in the House, and six on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the panel and Congress as a whole came together to rally around transportation. That’s something LaHood said he is seeing in the Senate; he praised Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who marshaled the Senate’s highway bill through the Environment and Public Works Committee.
“They get it. They passed a bipartisan bill with no dissenting votes in their committee. Because they worked together, and they really tried to put together a bill that reflects the transportation values of the senators,” LaHood said, then laid the blame for a one-sided House bill squarely at the feet of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.). “That’s not what happened in the House. Look, this is obviously a one-man show in the House.”
This article first appeared on POLITICO Pro at 12:05 p.m. on February 2, 2012.