After testifying before a congressional hearing on high-speed rail, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood spoke to reporters in a nearby hallway about the recent DWI arrest of Randy Babbitt, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is an arm of the Department of Transportation.
Fairfax City police arrested Babbitt, who was appointed to the post by President Obama in 2009, Saturday night. Authorities said he was driving alone on the wrong side of Old Lee Highway. Babbitt requested to be placed on leave Monday, and LaHood granted his request. Police did not release Babbitt’s blood alcohol level, but .08 is the threshold to bring charges of driving while intoxicated in Virginia. He is set to appear on charges Feb. 2.
Here are LaHood’s remarks to reporters.
“We’re looking into the matter. I’ve talked to Randy about it and we’ll see where it takes us. What I told Randy is that I was very disappointed with the way that I learned about this. Through a press release from Fairfax . . . I’ve said everything I’m going to say about Administrator Babbitt.
This is a personnel matter. I’ve talked to Randy. I’ll continue to talk to Randy and as soon as anything develops you’ll all be the first to know.
Safety’s our number 1 priority. When I was sworn in I said safety’s our number 1 priority. I haven’t changed that for three years. I don’t intend to change it, I wake up every day thinking about safety.”