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Transportation Secretary Rides Portland Streetcar

Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited Portland Wednesday, to promote the city's streetcar project as a model for new industry and transportation. April Baer reports.

LaHood thanked a Clackamas company, Oregon Ironworks, for its work on a new line of streetcars.

Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood Visits Portland - Photos by April Baer

They'll roll along an expanding system of lines in Portland. Sixty-five other cities have inquired about buying streetcars for their own systems, and Tuscon, Arizona has placed a $26 million order.

LaHood says it's exactly the kind of work federal and state government should invest in.

Ray LaHood: "For decades now, public transportation has had a starring role in Portland's strategy to spur economic development, and manage growth. It is a part of Portland's DNA."

The event was crammed with elected Oregonians, from Governor Kulongoski, to Congressional transit boosters like Earl Blumenauer and Peter Defazio.

Defazio and Lahood have disagreed lately on replenishing the main pipeline for transportation funding. But Defazio said there's still a lot they agree on, and he feels LaHood is listening.