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Thanks for everything, Ray LaHood!

Lots of news this week about Ray LaHood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Photo by Scott Stark, courtesy of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

The Illinois native has done a lot to help alternative transportation during the three years he has been at the DOT, including many projects that are very important to Illinois.

Just this month the U.S. DOT awarded $196.5 million to the Michigan Department of Transportation to improve rail travel between Detroit and Chicago, which will ultimately reduce travel time by 30 min.

He also spoke at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s 25th anniversary reception, advocating for the great health benefits from the rails-to-trails program.

A blog from the America Walks Forum reminds us, “Sec. LaHood is perhaps best remembered by active transportation advocates for his impassioned speech on the floor of Congress in 2003, when he defended the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program—the largest source of funding for trails, walking and bicycling facilities—which continues to face legislative threats in the current Congress.”

Last night, to underscore all this, Active Trans gave the secretary the Extra Mile Award for his leadership in promoting safety, sustainable transportation and livable communities. Accepting the award on the secretary’s behalf at Active Trans' 25th Anniversary Celebration was Polly Trottenberg, the assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. (The anniversary celebration, by the way, was a fantastic event that brought together sustainable transportation luminaries from around the nation.)

Secretary LaHood has announced that he will only stay on the job for one term and he will not run for public office again.

We thank him for the hard work he has done for us! Check out Secretary LaHood's blog for more information about the work the DOT is doing.