The Washington Post

Is Ray LaHood the new Grinch?

Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood. (Chip Somodevilla/GETTY IMAGES)

The holidays are upon us, and federal employees will be heading off to be with loved ones at various points during the season — well, maybe not all federal employees..

Jim Carrey stealing Christmas. (Photo by Ron Batzdorff/Universal/PHOTO BY RON BATZDORFF/UNIVERSAL)

More than 1,000 applications have come in from states and local governments for a piece of $527 million available next year for road, bridge, rail and other infrastructure projects.

HUD review teams — some 80 people in all — will select about 50 projects to share the cash. The team had expected the review process would be completed in early February.

But Secretary Ray LaHood, hoping to get the money out as quickly as possible, decreed at the end of October that he wants to announce the winners by Dec. 31 and get that money out fast.

A good idea. But it also means the reviewers will be crunching numbers and evaluating applications throughout the season.

Most of them probably won’t even be able to do the traditional sneak-away from their desks to spend a few hours shopping.

Well, they’ll still have time for a New Year’s blowout.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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