Our sister publication Overdrive reports that during an address to members of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called the looming sequestration cuts a “meat axe approach.”
The sequester is a set of across-the-board budget cuts scheduled to hit today, should Congress not come to an agreement on how reduce the deficit. The sequester would likely result in pulled federally-funded construction projects.
LaHood said the cuts will have a direct impact on transportation and the country’s renewed focus on improving infrastructure.
“We’re all in this together. Sequester is a dumb idea,” LaHood said. “It will not work. It will not work in helping us reaching our goals to improve America’s transportation. It just won’t.”
Since announcing that he would step down from his post as soon as the Obama administration finds a successor, LaHood has been extremely vocal. Near the beginning of February he told radio host Diane Rehm that “America is one big pothole.” Two weeks ago, LaHood wrote a blog post praising the President’s “fix-it-first” proposal to repair the country’s infrastructure.
In the interview with Rehm, LaHood criticized the MAP-21 transportation bill Congress passed last summer. He continued that criticism in the address to the AASHTO, saying future bills should last longer and be more comprehensive.
“It’s no secret, two years was all the money they could find, and everybody wished it could be longer and more comprehensive, we certainly felt that way, but we are dealing with what we have,” LaHood said. “Where do we get the resources to get beyond a two-year bill? To do a five-year bill? To have $500 or $600 billion? To do what previous generations have done?”