On Monday April 29th President Obama nominated Anthony Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina as his new transportation secretary. What does this selection mean for transportation policy around the country? First, a note about the position of transportation secretary; Mr. Foxx has been nominated to be head of the Department of Transportation, and will oversee eleven different government agencies relating to transportation, including the FHWA, FAA, NHTSA, and FTA.
He holds a law degree from New York University’s School of Law, and was
an attorney before his time as mayor. As
mayor, Foxx has pushed many transportation oriented initiatives forward such as
expanding light rail, and adding street car lines in Charlotte, as well as
adding two lanes to the six lane interstate highway, and a new runway at
Charlotte-Douglas Airport. Mr. Fox is an
interesting choice because he does not have a background in transportation, his
predecessor, Ray LaHood, was a US representative, serving on the House transportation
and infrastructure committee for five years.
One interesting piece to all of this is that as transportation secretary
Mr. Fox is in a position to help along some of his projects he pushed for as
mayor by sending funding to those areas.
That said, it is not as simple as just pushing money into those
projects, however it was noted that Illinois fared well under LaHood, who is
from that state. It is certainly true
that Fox has pushed forward a great number of transportation initiatives, but
American’s will have to wait to see if he will be able to continue this focus
on the national level.