U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Holds Town Hall at Morgan
On February 17, Ray LaHood, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, visited Morgan for a town hall meeting attended by more than 100 students, faculty, and staff. The secretary highlighted innovation, careers, and the Obama administration's efforts in transportation.
"If you're thinking about a career in transportation, this is a great time to be thinking about it," LaHood said. "There are going to be lots of opportunities. Study hard, work hard, get a good education because when you get out of school there's going to be a lot of opportunities in transportation because of the president's big, bold vision."
President Obama's proposed budget for 2012 provides $129 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation, a 66 percent increase over the amount for 2010.1 The budget also includes the first $50 billion of a six-year, $550 billion investment in the nation's transportation programs and infrastructure. LaHood said that the plan would take care of existing roads and bridges, connect 80 percent of America with high-speed intercity rail by the year 2036, and foster job growth.
"We know that transportation puts people to work. We know that," LaHood said. "We've proved it over the last two years [with the stimulus bill]: 15,000 projects; our friends and neighbors – 65,000 of them or more – put to work. And some of those projects will continue this year. Hopefully, we pass the transportation bill. This is a great time to be in transportation."
David Strickland, the administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, joined LaHood at the town hall and repeated the highly skilled job opportunities available in the department.
"About 40 percent of my senior managerial core is up for retirement ... It really is your time to develop yourselves and fill these new leadership roles," Strickland said.
Strickland also used the event to kickoff the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's safe driving campaign with historically black colleges and universities.
"We need you because, quite frankly, we need every voice in America," Strickland said. "Especially, we need you here at Morgan State and across the country to be able to talk to, not only our community, but every community about the dangers of inappropriate behavior behind the wheel – whether it's driving under the influence, whether it's not wearing your belt, whether it's texting and driving, or whether you're driving aggressively. There's a host of things that we have to work together to improve, and we need brilliant minds like you all have here at Morgan State to be able to partner with us to promote that message."
1 Department of Transportation Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Highlights