WASHINGTON, DC – Many travel and tourism industry organizations are applauding today’s confirmation of former Congressman Ray LaHood to be the new US Secretary of Transportation and a member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet.
At his confirmation hearing, Secretary LaHood showed that he was prepared to lead the department in tackling a myriad of issues, including those faced by the air transportation sector.
The industry appreciates the leadership demonstrated today by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, as she focused Secretary LaHood’s attention to the issue of airport slot auctions, which were proposed in the prior administration as a misguided solution for the issue of air traffic congestion. In fact, they would likely increase passenger costs and decrease passenger service, particularly to small communities.
In responding to Sen. Hutchison’s question, Secretary LaHood acknowledged that the prior administration’s misguided proposal for auctions in the New York/New Jersey airports would not reduce congestion, a viewpoint shared by Sen. Hutchison and many in the Congress and in the aviation community.
Secretary LaHood’s view on transportation programs is that there is a need “to link decision-making to performance at all levels. This will require a new commitment to measuring performance in real time.” His focus is on meeting the needs of the customer.
“In aviation, it means a commitment to the end user of our aviation system – the passenger,” Secretary LaHood testified. “An aviation system that focuses on the safety, convenience, and confidence of the traveling public will be a successful system.”