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Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Boxer says Villaraigosa would make "fine" Transportation Secretary

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He's not officially announced he's leaving. But the possibility that Transportion Secretary Ray LaHood may step down is fueling speculation about who might replace him.

This morning, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California told a room full of reporters she  thinks L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "would be terrific" at the job.

Boxer heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which championed Villaraigosa's idea of expanding transportation loans to communities willing to put up their own tax money to pay them back. Congress approved a billion dollars a year to fund the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act - or TIFIA program.

Boxer likes the idea so much, she wants to create a similar program to help landlords and developers make buildings energy efficient, suggesting it should be called the BIFIA program.

Boxer said nobody asked her opinion about Antonio Villaraigosa filling a cabinet post. But she said, "I think he'd make a very fine Secretary of Transportation."

UPDATE: Bloomberg is reporting Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be "sticking around for a while."

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