LaHood Drank The Kool-Aid

When Obama chose Republican Ray LaHood to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation last December, transit advocates were nonplussed. But they must be serving up the hard stuff in the White House, cause here’s what LaHood had to say last week:

“In the past, population and economic growth have always led to large increases in highway travel. This is because most communities’ have built transportation systems that only allow people and goods to move by road. This Administration believes that people should have options to get to work, school, the grocery or the doctor that do not rely solely on driving. We want to transform our transportation system into a truly multimodal system with strong alternatives to driving in order to maximize highway capacity, combat traffic congestion, reduce our reliance on oil and decrease greenhouse gas emissions…

“Linking transportation and land-use planning to promote improved access to transit and creating walkable, bikeable communities will increase overall mobility and benefit all Americans.”

Read the rest here (pdf). It’s all so right on. What the hell is going on in America?

If not strong Kool-Aid, then perhaps someone has been channeling Lewis Mumford, who in 1958* wrote:

“The fatal mistake we have been making is to sacrifice every other form of transportation to the private motorcar… That is why we need a better transportation system, not just more highways… If we want to make the most of our national highway program, we must keep most of the proposed expressways in abeyance until we have done two other things. We must replan the inner city for pedestrian circulation, and we must rebuild and extend our public forms of mass transportation.”

Well, as they say, better half a century late than never.

*The Highway and the City, Architectural Record, April 1958.