LaHood's departure leaves potential opening for Porcari

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's decision to leave the Obama administration, which was announced Tuesday, could provide an opening for his No. 2: Former Maryland transportation official John D. Porcari.

Though his name is not on the speculative short list for the nation's top transportation job, Porcari has run the day-to-day operations of the department since he was sworn in as Deputy Transportation Secretary in 2009. Porcari served as Maryland's top transportation official from 1999 to 2003 and from 2007 until he went to work for the Obama administration.

LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, is the latest cabinet leader to announce he will department rather than serve in Obama's second term.

"Years ago, we were drawn together by a shared belief that those of us in public service owe an allegiance not to party or faction, but to the people we were elected to represent," Obama said of LaHood in a statement. "And Ray has never wavered in that belief."

Several high profile names have been floated for the job, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, and former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm.

In a statement Tuesday, LaHood said he will stay on until his replacement is confirmed by the Senate.

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