(WASHINGTON – From the Future) – One month ago today Robert Anthony “Bob” Lutz’s was nominated by President Barack Obama to become the next Secretary of Transportation. Lutz succeeds Ray LaHood as the country’s top transportation authority.
LaHood resigned in January saying, “He’d rather leave while the world still loved him.”
The Senate unanimously approved Mr. Lutz to his new position shortly after the President transmitted the nomination to Capitol Hill.
“What else is there to say, Mr. Lutz is a badass motherfucker, a Marine, and frankly most of us up here have a man-crush on him” said the senior Senator from Louisiana.
“Washington needs a man who’ll speak his mind, a leader who is capable of being decisive, even if completely wrong. I may not agree with his position on global warming, but at least I won’t be fed wishy-washy bullshit” said the junior Senator from Puerto Rico.
At Secretary Lutz swearing in President Obama said, “There was only one choice for Secretary of Transportation, Bob Lutz. Bob not only has the experience and knowledge, but he is tough as nails. I have no doubt he’ll make the American transportation system the safest and strongest it has ever been.”
Later, Secretary Lutz held a Q&A with print reporters at DoT Headquarters. The Secretary’s office said an additional event will be held for digital media to include, Twitter personalities, bloggers, mommy bloggers and people with a Klout score over 75.
Mr. Lutz said his first order of business at the department was to weed out “thinkers” and find the “doers.” He directed the DoT Human Resource Director to filter out applicants resumes that contained any of the following terms: Masters in Business Administration, MBA, analyst, Lean Six Sigma, black belt, process improvement, and enterprise.
To improve morale and fitness at DoT, Secretary Lutz established a community physical fitness challenge, Beat Bob. Each morning at “zero five hundred hours” DoT employees are encouraged to join Lutz in a series of physical activities. Running, jumping, pull-ups, and pushups are just a few of the exercises attendees can anticipate in.
When asked if any more contemporary exercises would be included in the program, Lutz laughed saying, “Sure. And maybe after yoga we can sip on a tall wheat grass and talk about how incredible the new Prius is.”
When questioned about rumors of a special clearance to operate his fighter jet in Washington’s restricted air space, Lutz said “I asked the FAA to see if I could park my Alpha Jet at Andrews Air Force base. I did not ask for permission to operate it outside of normal flight restrictions. It’s no different than asking for a reserved parking space. Do you have a reserved space? Than you know exactly what I’m talking about.”
The Secretary stated he would, in coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency, immediately introduce a new rule to grant special fuel credits to vehicles that act as light duty trucks, but are classified as passenger cars. Lutz said, “The utility offered by vehicles like the El Camino should not be a burden on their ability to meet fuel economy standards.” No further details were given, but sources say automakers plan to introduce a new segment of truck-like cars.
Secretary Lutz also announced plans to launch a billion dollar grant program to fund public-use motorsport facilities. Mr. Lutz said, “Americans need to go fast. Horsepower is a drug. It doesn’t matter how many signs or fines you throw at ’em, drivers find a way to get it out of their system. Unfortunately, street racing takes millions of lives every year. For that reason I am creating the ‘Right to Race’ program.”
Right to Race will provide financial incentives and operational training to local racetracks to ensure they continue to provide American motorists an inexpensive outlet for going fast. The program also includes educational campaigns on responsible racing, vehicle dynamics and manual transmission instruction.
On the matter of safety, funding and most everything else, Secretary Lutz had almost nothing to say.
A colleague from Bloomberg News asked Secretary Lutz if he had named a successor to NHTSA Administrator, David Strickland, who resigned upon learning Lutz would take over at DoT, Lutz replied, “I’m inclined to do both jobs myself.”
Another reporter asked Secretary Lutz what he thought about the recent appropriations measure passed by the House and currently under consideration by the Senate, Lutz replied; “What do I think about the bill? I think it’s a crock of shit. But I can’t tell you that.”
Kent Brockman, from Channel 6, asked Lutz if he had hired a press secretary. Lutz jokingly replied, “I’d love to hire one, but I can’t find someone with the guts to take the job. Then again, given the shit that comes out of my mouth – could you blame them?”
This could be a very interesting period for the Department of Transportation. Rarely does an executive, especially one like Mr. Lutz, leave the riches and wealth of corporate America and subject themselves to the bonds of government servitude.
Many speculate that Lutz took this job to come up with new material for yet another book. Others say he’s every car guy’s hero who felt the need to protect the automobile. Whatever his motivations one thing is certain – he intends to shake things up.
Hold on tight.