When Doug MacDonald announced his retirement as transportation secretary Friday (see his science demonstration), it brought back memories of my interview with him a few months after he took the job in 2001.
A few tidbits:
He’s commonly regarded as a champion of pavement – and in fact got a lot of concrete poured in the last six years. But when he talked to me, he described cars as a “maybe delusionally short-term device.”
On the Department of Transportation as he found it then: “I’ve never seen a place so unprepared for public inquiry.”
On the arguments for and against road-funding: “I found the politics are harder and worse than I imagined. This has near-religious overtones.”
On his own image: “You’ve got to create a persona of empathic affability.”
“Create a persona”? This genuinely affable guy, no one should forget, is a Harvard-educated lawyer.