Senate unanimously approves Charlotte Mayor Foxx as next DOT Secretary
June 27, 2013
The United States Senate today voted by a 100-0 margin to confirm Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation.
Earlier this month, the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation yesterday approved the nomination of Foxx as the next Department of Transportation Secretary.
President Barack Obama nominated Foxx for the position at the end of April.
When Obama selected Foxx, he stated that since Foxx took office as Mayor of Charlotte in 2009, he has helped to turn around the city at a time when both the city and the country were going through very challenging economic times.
“The economy is growing. There are more jobs, more opportunity,” he said. “And if you ask Anthony how that happened, he’ll tell you that one of the reasons is that Charlotte made one of the largest investments in transportation in the city’s history.”
Prior to the nomination of Foxx being made official, a White House official was quoted in the Washington Post as saying that “[a]s mayor of one of America’s most vibrant cities, Anthony Foxx knows firsthand that investing in world-class infrastructure is vital to creating good jobs and ensuring American businesses can grow and compete in the global economy.”
As Mayor of Charlotte, the report noted that Foxx has been very active on the transportation front for both passenger and freight modes.
One of his major efforts, according to the Post, was the Charlotte Streetcar Project, an electric trolley system, as well as the expansion of its LYNX light-rail system. And on the freight transportation side, the report noted that Charlotte, under Foxx’ watch, developed a 200-acre facility in conjunction with Class I railroad carrier Norfolk Southern connecting freight from Charlotte to global ports and the city also added a third parallel runway at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
Foxx was elected as Mayor of Charlotte in 2009 and re-elected in 2011, said the report.
A noted transportation infrastructure expert told LM that Foxx appears to be the right man for the job.
“I don’t know him directly, but I am impressed by his commitment to the Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility and the fact that he seems to appreciate the importance of addressing freight needs,” said Leslie Blakey, executive director of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors. “The Charlotte project is a truly innovative approach, interconnecting rail, road and air to increase freight mobility.”
At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on May 22, Foxx laid out some key components of his agenda if he is confirmed.
Foxx told Committee members he plans to focus on three key areas:
-ensuring the U.S. transportation system is the safest in the world as it was for current Secretary Ray LaHood;
-improving the efficiency and performance of the country’s existing transportation system through better use of technology, data, economic analysis, and private sector innovation, such as public-private partnerships, to bring more private sector capital and innovation into the infrastructure market; and
-build the country’s infrastructure to meet the needs of the next generation of Americans
“The private sector cannot do this alone, and the federal government has a responsibility to help ensure our global competitiveness, by investing in a robust, multimodal transportation system, a stronger national freight network, and key innovations like NextGen and advanced roadway and rail technology,” Foxx said in prepared remarks addressing U.S. infrastructure needs. “As a Mayor who has delivered projects to my constituents, I know too well that future uncertainty at the Federal level makes it difficult to do smart cost-effective long-term planning and project development.”
Various industry stakeholders warmly greeted the news of Foxx’ Senate confirmation.
“I congratulate Mayor Foxx on his Senate confirmation,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). “The unanimous votes by the Senate and Commerce Committee convey our confidence in Mayor Foxx as the right person to lead the Transportation Department. I look forward to working closely with him on our greatest infrastructure challenges – from rebuilding ports and bridges to making our roads safer. I hope Mayor Foxx will be the broker we need to break the partisan gridlock so we can make critical investments that will preserve and strengthen our nation’s infrastructure.”
American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves said the challenges of being mayor of a large city like Charlotte are not all that different from those of being a governor, explaining he is confident Foxx will be up to the test of providing this country with the first-rate, world-class transportation system our industry and our economy demand.
Association of American Railroads President and CEO Ed Hamberger said “On behalf of the nation’s railroads, I would like to welcome Secretary Anthony Foxx to his new position at the Department of Transportation. As mayor of Charlotte, Mr. Foxx established a record that strengthened the transportation sector, and demonstrated his understanding that the nation needs a strong transportation network to create jobs. We look forward to working with him and ensuring America’s freight rail network remains the best in the world.”
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