LaHood expects big Obama announcement on transportation, comments on I-5 bridge collapse

Updated Jun 7, 2013

Ray_LaHood_official_portraitDuring a recent talk before the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) in Washington, D.C., outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told those in attendance to expect a big announcement from President Barack Obama later this year concerning transportation infrastructure.

“Once we get past immigration, guns, the sequester, I think the President is going to be big and bold on transportation infrastructure. So I’m not going to steal his thunder,” LaHood said, according to a report from our sister site Better Roads. “And I think you’ll get behind him.”

LaHood also commented on the partial bridge collapse on Interstate 5 over the Skagit River near Seattle. The bridge’s design has been deemed outdated, including its rather low clearance. Several trucks have collided with the bridge’s clearance through the years but the recent collision brought down a portion of the bridge.

However, LaHood said he’s not convinced the fault lies solely with the truck.

“That bridge didn’t just fall down because it was hit by a truck. It also fell down because it’s old and probably needed to be replaced.”

LaHood also publicly criticized the MAP-21 transportation bill for the first time saying, â€śWe need a five-year bill, a $500 to $600 billion paid-for bill. Even that will just scratch the surface.”

“The debate about the new bill will not be about what America needs–we know that–it will be about how we pay for it,” LaHood continued. “We’re not going to find the money we need for transportation infrastructure in the Highway Trust Fund. The money is not there, at least not in its present form.”

LaHood only has a few weeks left in his term. He announced his decision to step down at the end of January. Obama tapped Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to replace LaHood.