Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, one of Obama’s token cabinet Republicans, isn’t going to rock the policy boat. According to National Journal, he’ll take his cues from the White House on emissions:
Addressing the role that the department will play as Congress and the administration move forward on climate change legislation this year, LaHood said he would take his cues from Obama and White House energy and climate adviser Carol Browner. “We’re going to be in the room,” LaHood said, adding, “I’m going to take my leads from Carol Browner. I’ll be a good, faithful soldier on this.”
Lisa Caruso also reports that Clinton-era FAA chief Jane Garvey is about to be nominated for deputy secretary of transportation. She also reports that Randy Babbitt, a former Eastern Airlines pilot and Air Line Pilots Association president and current consultant, is the most likely choice for a five-year term as FAA administrator.
What should we expect from Babbitt? Well, he’ll have to thread the needle of being a union guy moved into management. According to a pilot source, Babbitt was very political as head of ALPA from 1991 to 1998. ALPA is in the tricky position of being a union — a solid Democratic bloc — made up more of Republicans than Democrats, especially in the past when the commercial pilot workforce was composed of greater shares of ex-military guys. “Babbitt had the union endorse Bill Clinton, and there were a lot of individual union members who quit the union [over that],” my source said. “Prior to Clinton, the union had never endorsed a political candidate for president.”
Looks like Babbitt is about to reap his political rewards.
LaHood Predicts More High-Speed Rail Funds [National Journal]