I don't know about you, but after Ray LaHood was tapped to serve as Obama's Secretary of Transportation, most of what I read around the urblogosphere was bad-news-bears. Urban policy wonk Ryan Avent questioned the decision over at Grist, as well as his own blog; over at WorldChanging, Alex Steffen wondered aloud wether Obama had used the position as a throwaway to appease Republicans; and transit blog The Overheard Wire took a padded swipe at the new Sec. Interested in getting the opinion of someone in the transit policy arena from LaHood's home state (which, luckily enough, happens to be my own), I checked in with a friend who's on the board of the Chicago-based Active Transportation Alliance, formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. He pointed me to an editorial piece in the org's latest newsletter, ModeShift, which paints a much sunnier picture of LaHood than I've become accustomed to reading. According to the ModeShift article, LaHood is a strong and vocal proponent of rails-to-trails programs, and has been twice-honored by the League of Illinois Bicyclists for his efforts on biking issues. So his mass transit record is still murky, but it sounds like LaHood's not all bad news. Just a bit of food for thought.
Edit: all that being said, I'm starting to wish that this Nadler fellow would have been given the nod.