Out of Control Policy Blog

One Big Pothole

In a candid interview with Deborah Solomon in the NY Times Magazine, Secretary Ray Lahood in response to a question about the America’s infrastructure, that….”America is one big pothole and Americans are ready for their streets and roads and bridges to be fixed up.”

  • Question from Ms. Solomon: President Obama has talked about his desire to wean Americans off automobiles.
  • Answer: What we’ve talked about is getting to a concept that we call livable communities, where people don’t have to get in a car every day. You can use light rail, you can use buses, you can use walking paths, you can use your bike.
  • Question:  The conservative columnist George Will recently denounced you as the “secretary of behavior modification,” in reference to your plan to have Americans give up cars.
  • Answer:  When George came over here for lunch, I could tell from the tone of our conversation that he wasn’t particularly keen on what we were trying to promote here.

The last telling question is: 

  • But if Americans increasingly get around by rail, bus and bicycle, as you’ve planned, who will be buying cars in the future?
  • Answer:  I think everybody will have an automobile. I think it’s amazing in America when you drive around and look at new homes that are being built, there are three-car garages. I don’t think you’re going to see families with three cars. I think you’re going to see families with one car, possibly two.

So, we are in for changes in the transportation policy to wean us off our cars? 

This interview reinforces the views presented previously by Secretary LaHood.  My colleague Sam Staley looked at the George Will article here and another interview with Secretary LaHood is reviewed here.

Shirley Ybarra is Senior Transportation Policy Analyst


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