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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/29/2011

Ask Transportation Secretary LaHood

The U.S. Department of Transportation has invited Dr. Gridlock readers to submit questions to the transportation secretary for his monthly Q&A video, called “On the Go with Ray LaHood.”

LaHood, who has used a variety of social media to answer questions and get his message out to a national audience, started the video series in March. In his September show, you see him seated at his desk, which prominently features a “Drive now, text later” bumper sticker, reflecting his campaign against distracted driving.

The session developed a theme on the nationwide debate over building and rebuilding roads and transit systems. Some of the questions came in via The Infrastructurist Web site.

LaHood answers questions such as “Do you think there’s a lack of interest in infrastructure by politicians and the public? If so, what can we do about it?”

And: “Given the almost universal support for private-public partnerships that leverage private capital to invest in infrastructure, what legislative or administrative hurdles are preventing this from being the norm?”

In the D.C. region, LaHood has been prominent for bringing the warring factions together to resolve the plan to build the new Metrorail line to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County. (He’s still at it. Speaking in McLean on Wednesday night, Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton, thanked LaHood for his involvement but said a deal in financing is probably still a few months away.)

But the first phase of the rail project, through Tysons Corner and out to Wiehle Avenue, is more than half done and scheduled to open in 2013. The first escalators arrived Wednesday at the Wiehle Avenue station.

In fact, the D.C. region is home to some of the nation’s largest transportation projects. Many of them are progressing because they got money or approvals or both from the federal government.

Virginia is now seeking to add another megaproject: The high-occupancy toll lanes along Interstate 95, a transportation program with national as well as regional implications.

In the District, the 11th Street Bridge project is an example of infrastructure renewal and expansion that is proceeding with the help of federal stimulus money. That one is going to provide some long-sought relief for Interstate travel in this region.

The Department of Transportation didn’t set any limits on the range of questions, but the videos run about eight minutes long, and there’s time for just a few answers. So my suggestion is that we submit transportation questions that have local interest but would also be relevant to a national audience.

Please submit questions either by placing them in the comments section below or by sending an e-mail to me at drgridlock@washpost.com. I’ll relay your e-mails to the Department of Transportation.

By  |  10:30 AM ET, 09/29/2011

Categories:  Commuting, Driving, Transit, Transportation Politics

 
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