Pulse: Chatter: Bumpy Roads

When the U.S. Department of Transportation surprised the political establishment by nixing Governor Ed’s plan to toll I-80 — with disastrous ramifications for the future of state highways, bridges and SEPTA — local pols started speculating. Consensus was that it was a hardball political move. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s ruling came down just after U.S. Representatives Chris Carney and Paul Kanjorski, both of whom opposed the toll plan, voted for the health-care bill. Then there was the matter of the Governor’s, shall we say, over-­enthusiastic support for Hillary in ’08. Many think the White House is still smarting over that. If such political deal-making and payback don’t seem to square with the high-minded Obama rhetoric, one local politico cautions against naïveté: “The President is a product of Chicago politics. He has a long memory.”