On April 29th, President Obama nominated Mayor Anthony Foxx of Charlotte, North Carolina for the position of Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
President Barack Obama nominated Anthony Foxx (pictured above) for the position of Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Credit: City of Charlotte.
If confirmed by the Senate, Foxx would succeed the current Secretary of the USDOT, Republican Ray LaHood, who announced plans this January to step down from his position as soon as a replacement was found for him.
“I know Anthony’s experience will make him an outstanding Transportation Secretary. He’s got the respect of his peers, mayors and governors all across the country. And as a consequence, I think that he’s going to be extraordinarily effective,” President Obama said in his nomination speech. “One of the things that Ray [LaHood] taught me in watching him do his job is that establishing personal relationships with mayors and governors and county executives makes all the difference in the world, because transportation is one of those things thatit’s happening on the ground.”
Foxx is the first African American to be nominated for a Cabinet position during President Obama’s second term.
While Foxx has not previously worked in the transportation sector, federal officials have stressed that he has been involved in several transportation projects as mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. Foxx has supported launching the Charlotte Streetcar Project, which aims to provide the city with an electric tram service with help from a $25 million federal grant. In addition, the city has worked to install a third parallel runway at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport and has drawn up plans to extend the city’s LYNX light rail system north to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
“President Obama has tapped an exceptional leader to take the wheel at America’s premier transportation agency. Anthony Foxx, who helped solve tough transportation challenges as mayor of Charlotte, will put that experience to work for our country, creating jobs and improving rail, bus, and other public transportation. That will benefit us all by reducing the nation’s pollution, dependence on oil, and traffic congestion in our communities and on our highways,” said National Resources Defense Council Executive Director Peter Lehner in a public statement.
“Anthony Foxx is the right person to carry on the important work initiated by Secretary LaHood to modernize our country’s public transportation systems and the infrastructure needed to carry us forward in the 21st century,” Lehner added.
Foxx holds degrees from Davidson College and New York University. He has held several positions within the federal government, including jobs in the House Judiciary Committee and the Justice Department. Foxx was elected mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina in 2009 and re-elected for a second term in 2011.
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee could host hearings on Foxx’s nomination as early as late May or June. The full Senate will have to confirm him. If confirmed, it is anticipated that Foxx could be on the job by July 4.