U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood is just all-around winning — and when I say “winning,” I mean that like how President Obama uses it to dress up his many misadventures in big-government “investment.” From enjoying a little on-the-side vigilante traffic patrol on the weekends (woah, carbon-emissions alert!) to admitting to his envy for the dictatorial ease enjoyed by China’s atrocious human rights-abusing communist government, Secretary LaHood has his unwelcome bureaucratic quirks — but this is just straight-up cheering impracticality, inefficiency, and government waste.

In cahoots with the federal government, California’s ambitious pipedream to bring high-speed rail to their state has been plagued by that little ol’ nuisance known as reality — as Ed has meticulously pointed out, the evolving saga has only gone from bad to worse, on both the monetary and infrastructural fronts, but California voted last week to forge onward with the poorly-conceived project anyways. Both our federal government and California are saddled with monstrous amounts of debt, but they positively insist on sending more money down the tubes in their doomed-from-the-start attempts to engineer the public-transit-using populace of their wildest green fantasies.

Should the fact that this public project is going to put California and the United States billions more dollars in the hole faze Secretary LaHood? Not in the slightest, apparently:

“I congratulate the Legislature on taking this action, which will create thousands of jobs and strengthen the California economy,” he wrote. “In the next 20 years, California expects more than 7 million additional residents. But, as the state’s residents know all too well, the highways between California cities are already congested, and short-haul takeoff and landing slots at Golden State airports are at a premium.”

By agreeing to appropriate the funding for the high-speed railway, California state lawmakers provided validation to a project the Obama administration has contributed more than $3 billion.

The approval provided a contrast with other states that won high-speed rail money from the Obama administration in the 2009 economic stimulus, which included $8 billion for rail proposals. Republican governors in Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida all turned down the money after being in elected in 2010. …

“Californians know they need a new option for inter-city travel,” he wrote Monday. “The governor knows it; California’s mayors know it. And now, the state legislature has signaled that they know it, too.”

In the name of all that is holy, enough with this, “let’s burn money, because it’s fun!” big-government attitude. The governors in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida were wise to turn down that “free” high-speed rail money, knowing they’d have to drain their own coffers completing a project that the profit-seeking free market doesn’t deem worthwhile.

Man, oh man: When it comes to staffing his gigantic, profligate bureaucracy, President Obama really knows how to pick ’em.