Got a question for Secretary LaHood?

Talk about dunderheaded career moves! In a moment of dubious judgement, Secretary of the Department of Transportation Ray LaHood has said he’s willing to submit to a Q&A with yours truly. What questions do you have for the Honorable Secretary? Let us know. Share them right here. And thanks.

Worried about the Secretary’s reasoning faculties,

Tom and Ray Magliozzi

Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers

How soon will the government sell off its shares of US auto companies?

Lahood is not in charge of stock sales…I don’t think he is in charge of anything, really…He is a content provider for radio talk-show hosts…You guys figure out what to ask him…

  1. Why is straight gasoline so hard to find now? My gas mileage is notably worse with 10% ethanol at seemingly no advantage in price. Does the corn lobby have more clout than the rest of us? What is the present truth regarding the net energy gain, if any, with ethanol gasoline? Do we need ethanol going for us to keep the oil countries from becoming too arrogant? Why is ethanol motor fuel subsidized with tax incentives and when will ethanol be required to exist alone on its economic merits? Why is is that you can choose either straight or ethanol gasoline in corn producing states such as Iowa?

  2. Why can’t a freight train include a passenger car with sleeping accommodations so I can go anywhere I want in the country via train as long as I have the time for that?

They already have sleeper cars.

On expensive, limited route passenger trains. I believe the Wha Who asked about freight trains.

You might ask Lahood what it is he does that’s important enough to be ranked as a cabinet position…I mean, if the entire DOT disappeared tomorrow, would anyone know it was gone? Would they care?

I imagine there’s liability issues involved a freight train pulling passenger rail cars and the insurance costs involved would mean that the freight lines would have to charge more across the board to cover the added expense, and that would cause them to lose business.

That’s an excellent question, even though you meant it as a comment on your notion that they do nothing except collect paychecks. It would give Mr. LaHood an oportunity to tell you what they do. Here’s a list of DOT agencies:

Have a look and see if they do anything worthwhile. Maybe you could direct your questions to one or more of the agencies.

Secretary LaHood,

Explain DOT’s plan for funding highway repairs and construction. As the CAFE rises, income from gasoline taxes decline. Even if costs are stagnant, and the won’t be, there is less money for repairs and construction. A related question is: how will these funding issues be addressed as electric cars become more prevalent? As hybrids, they will pay far less in fuel taxes. As full electiric cars, they will pay no fuel taxes. How will electric car drivers pay thier fair shar for highway usage?

Another vote for JTS’s questions. The highway system’s falling apart, everyone’s saying we need to use less gas, yet the OBVIOUS answer of increasing gas taxes is avoided. Instead we get huge government subsidies of useless/wasteful/wrongheaded answers like ethanol from corn. Sheesh!

Good question! GM’s stock price during the last 5 years was as high as $40. It is currently $0.68. That’s better than it’s long-term low of $0.50, but there is still upside potential. Maybe Rich Uncle should hold on a little longer. Now that we have an answer, we can play lawyer and ask the question!

I suppose that you would like to sell ASAP. Does the still low stock price change your mind? If not, why? It seems to me that GM’s assets must be worth more than $0.68 per share. The profits from selling the assets would easily pay for the investment, especially since GM already repaid their loans.

But without huge gov’t subsidies for the folly known as Corn-Based Ethanol, how would politicians of both parties pander to the voters of Iowa and other corn-producing states for their votes and for their campaign contributions?

Sorry for my cynicism, but I am just as frustrated as you are regarding this folly.

“January 2009 Porker Of The Month” Is One Of Mr. LaHood’s Accomplishments, Presented By The CAGW (Citizens Against Government Waste).

His qualifications for the job include being a former school teacher and living in Obama’s home state of Illinois (where many Obama appointees come from).

The GAGW pointed out fifty-two legislative earmarks for which LaHood took credit last year, totaling $58.9m in spending and say that he diverted $448,000 in federal tax dollars to the Lakeview Museum Planetarium in Peoria, Illinois.

Since we know enough about his Washington job, here’s what to ask:
How’s your golf game, lately ?
Amazingly, with all of his responsibilities and time constraints, he still has time to be an avid golf enthusiast.


CSA–I just wanted to make sure you are aware that Mr. LaHood is a loyal member of the GOP, and those earmarks were his “contribution” to his constituents while he served many years as their Republican Congressman. Are you aware of his political affiliation?

Hey Mr. Secretary, can you get off Toyota’s case already? It’s obvious you know nothing about cars or driving. And, forget Maglev technology from Japan. No one wants to sell this country stuff when it’s an invitation for baseless lawsuits. What exactly qualifies you for this job? Thank you.

Years ago, there were “sleeper” cars on freight trains. The ride was free and the people that rode them were called hobos. From what I’ve heard, the heating, air conditioning and lighting weren’t very good in these cars.

A passenger car or a sleeper car requires a great deal of energy. The lighting used to be provided by batteries in each car that were recharged by a generator driven by a belt from the axle. There was a steam generator on the diesel engine (or from a steam locomotive, there was a source of steam). The steam heated the coaches in the winter and the absorption principle was used to cool the coaches in the summer. Present passenger cars and sleepers are furnished 3 phase 480 volt power from a generator in the locomotive. Freight cars don’t need this energy and it wouldn’t be practical to combine freight and passengers.

When we start seeing more bridges collapsing like the one in Minnesota a few years back, congress will suddenly “appropriate” the funds. It’s just a shame; how many people will have to die before that happens?

This is the kind of thing the “stimulus” plan should have been used for. Put people to work rebuilding our infrastructure, instead of funneling money to each congressperson’s “pet” projects.

Sorry, but Maglev technology didn’t come from Japan. It was developed here the USA using a test track facility near Pueblo Colorado.

A question about highways and bridges. Why are highways and bridges not built to last longer? Where I live, a major city interchange needed rebuilding after about 40 years due to concrete and steel deterioration due to road salt and heavy trucks too I suppose. Will the next one last 40 years too? Does our country need to pay to rebuild interchange bridges every 40 years forever? Can materials be treated or chosen from appropriate materials to resist road salt? Can construction be made more durable to withstand freeze/thaws and heavy traffic? Bridges and highways should last at least 100 years. 500 years would be even better.