Enviros praise LaHood as 'unexpected champion of green policies'

"He poured investments into public transportation infrastructure, supported the development of livable, walkable communities, and emphasized regional cooperation on transportation alternatives through innovative, competitive grant programs," Lehner continued. 

LaHood announced his widely expected retirement earlier this week, confirming speculation that he would not serve in President Obama's second-term Cabinet.

Environmentalists and fans of funding alternative transportation methods like bicycling and walking feared LaHood would favor highway construction because of his 14-year pre-DOT tenure as a Republican House member from Illinois.
But Lehner said Thursday that LaHood "helped shift the DOT’s priorities away from traditional highway-building and toward creating a more flexible, efficient, interconnected 21st-century transportation system — one that will help reduce our dependence on oil, improve air quality, and cut global warming pollution.

"LaHood’s DOT implemented a major infrastructure revamp through the stimulus bill, investing billions in road repair (a proven fuel-saver), track improvements, and upgrading and replacing public transit vehicles, with cleaner, more efficient ones," he said.

LaHood has said he will remain in place until the confirmation of his successor at the Department of Transportation.

White House officials have been quiet about candidates who might be in the running to replace him. A long list of rumored candidates have been mentioned as possibilities.