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LaHood: 'America is one big pothole right now'

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LaHood was a Republican House member from Illinois before he joined the Obama administration in 2009. He announced last week that he was retiring after serving one term at the helm of the Department of Transportation.

The departing DOT secretary said America was at risk of falling losing its place as a leader in infrastructure development if the trend was not quickly reversed under his eventual successor. 

"At one time ... we were the leader in infrastructure," he said. "We built the interstate system. It's the best road system in the world, and we're proud of it. But we're falling way behind other countries, because we have not made the investments."

LaHood noted that Congress passed a $105 billion surface transportation bill last year, but he lamented the fact that the measure only provided appropriations for road and transit projects until 2014.

"Congress passed a two-year bill. Ordinarily they would pass a five-year bill," he said. "It was only a two-year bill because they couldn't find enough money to fund a five-year bill."

Since LaHood announced his retirement last week, speculation on his replacement at the Department of Transportation has centered on National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman.

LaHood said Wednesday that whoever ends up replacing him will have to think outside the box to find more transportation funding.

For more on LaHood's comments, click here.