Under the Dome

NC DOT chief mentioned as potential Obama cabinet member

State DOT Secretary Gene Conti is mentioned in Governing Magazine's list of potential candidates to run the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Conti, who has led the state transportation department for nearly four years, is a former U.S. assistant secretary for transportation policy.

Governing says Conti's emphasis on data-driven analytics could be important in a new national transportation leader.

Update: Dome's Crosstown Traffic colleague talked to Conti.

“I’m very honored to be on the list of so many prominent transportation leaders,” Conti said Friday. “It’s a nice recognition of the work we’ve done in the last four years in North Carolina.”

Conti was en route to his home town, Pittsburgh, for the annual meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, where he will receive the group’s highest award this weekend. The Thomas H. McDonald Award recognizes a career of service in transportation and highway engineering.

He said the mention of his name for U.S. transportation secretary was “all speculation,” but he did not dismiss the possibility.

“When the president asks you to do something, you have to give it very serious consideration," Conti said. "We’re far away from that point, I think. Nobody has contacted me about that directly. We’ll just see how it unfolds.”

Ray LaHood, a Republican and former congressman from Illinois who currently holds the position, has indicated that he might not stay on for President Barack Obama’s second term.

Correction of LaHood's former position.

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