Ray LaHood Confirmed as New Secretary of Transportation

Last week, the U.S. Senate approved the nomination of former U.S. Rep. Ray H. LaHood as the new Secretary of Transportation. The seven-term Congressman ended his 14-year stint as a representative from Illinois earlier this month.

As Transportation Secretary, LaHood will oversee the Federal Aviation Administration, which is playing a major role in overseeing space commercialization. It’s not clear yet exactly what direction LaHood and the Obama Administration will take on this emerging industry.

Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Marion Blakey praised the selection.

“Secretary Ray LaHood’s unanimous confirmation vote in the Senate is testament to the great bipartisan respect he has among lawmakers. His long and distinguished career in public service is excellent preparation to lead the Transportation Department.  During his confirmation hearing before the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, LaHood expressed support for a number of AIA priorities including development of the nation’s new satellite-based air traffic management system known as NextGen, ensuring transportation investments are environmentally sustainable and appointment of a permanent administrator to the FAA. AIA is looking forward to working with Secretary LaHood and his team on the important priorities facing the aerospace industry and the nation.”

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association also seemed pleased.

“We look forward to quickly establishing a close working relationship with Secretary LaHood,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “We would suggest that one of his first priorities should be to nominate an FAA Administrator with proven aviation and management experience, and the diplomatic skills to find consensus among all of the users and Congress. AOPA would be grateful to offer advice on that selection.”