23 January 2009

New US DoT Secretary

So the new broom is sweeping clean in a couple of places.

One of the early appointments is the Secretary of Transportation. Former Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., won unanimous Senate confirmation on Thursday to head President Barack Obama's Department of Transportation. The 63-year-old LaHood called the Cabinet post "the capstone of my public service career," and said "it shows the whole idea of bipartisanship and working with people across party lines was not just a political slogan." In his confirmation hearings, LaHood vowed openness and fairness in overseeing the flood of public money expected for transportation projects under the president's stimulus plan.

For Airlines this means a long awaited fix (we hope) to the ATC system. Of course this will require some money - this part of the "Stimulus" package. However with airlines cutting capacity and travelers staying away in droves - the Feds may need to look to new revenue sources for paying for this new system upgrade.

Lets wish LaHood well. He has a tough road ahead. Let's also hope that he recognizes the value of air transportation and allows the system to grow as it will need to do. During the down year of 2009 - if there is a swift implementation - we can see better performance within the system. It isn't just technology that will make this work but better processes and procedures. Challenge everything. We sure need to.


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