Ray LaHood, the erstwhile Republican congressman from Illinois, is leaving his post as secretary of transportation. The Washington Post reports:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is leaving the Obama administration after four years, a White House official confirms.

LaHood announced last fall that he did not plan to serve in President Obama’s second term Cabinet. But he went on to walk back that statement, and at an inauguration party last week he said he would stick around for an indefinite amount of time.

A former Republican congressman from Illinois, LaHood came to the administration as a friend of former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. He is the only Republican in the Cabinet, but assuming former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel is confirmed as secretary of defense, he will not be the last.

As transportation secretary, LaHood backed the Obama administration's efforts to discourage the use of cell phones while driving and as well as discouraging driving in cars altogether. Here's an example:

Have you heard about Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s “tabletop speech” at the National Bike Summit? Probably not, but it’s legendary in pro-bicycle, anti-car circles. LaHood got a wild standing ovation in March when he climbed on a table in a congressional hearing room, touted his department’s “livable community program,” and talked about getting people “out of their cars.”

“We’re going to put affordable housing next to walking paths and biking paths,” LaHood said, amid cheers. “I’ve been all over America and   .  .  .  I’ve been very proud to talk about the fact people do want alternatives.” You’ll never guess what that alternative is. “They want to get out of their cars,” he said, prompting more cheers. “They want to get out of congestion.” Still more cheers.

LaHood was half right. People hate traffic congestion. But they want to get out of their cars about as much as they want to get stuck behind a bicyclist who rides at a donkey’s pace before running through red lights and stop signs. What people mainly want is to stay in their cars and have LaHood do something to reduce congestion.

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