By Leslie Wollack
Winning praise on and off Capitol Hill, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx received a warm welcome during his nomination hearing as the next Secretary of Transportation before the Senate Commerce Committee last week. The full Senate will consider his nomination after returning from the Memorial Day recess.
Citing his pragmatism as Mayor and ability to find solutions to complex transportation issues, Foxx was praised for bringing together business, all levels of government and the public in promoting creative transportation investments in Charlotte and making it a centerpiece for economic development. Committee Chair Senator John Rockefeller was hopeful that Foxx could end the siloed nature of transportation at the federal level, noting that the Mayor had done that very successfully in Charlotte.
In his statement to the committee, Foxx promised to "find pragmatic solutions for the transportation challenges we faced while avoiding a "one size fits all" approach. It's the kind of bipartisan approach that I believe made Secretary LaHood so effective at DOT, and a model I will also follow."
As mayor, Foxx understands the value of investments in transportation to economic growth and job creation. During Foxx's tenure, the 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan, advocated 25 miles of commuter rail, 21 miles of light rail, 16 miles of streetcar, 14 miles of bus rapid transit and expanded bus network to connect people to jobs, school and doctor appointments.
"I've known Anthony and his family for many years, and have had the pleasure of serving with him from the time he was first elected to City Council through his tenure as mayor," said Charlotte City Councilwoman Patsy Kinsey, vice-chair of NLC's Transportation and Infrastructure Services Policy Committee. "Based on my dealings with him throughout that time, I can personally attest to his commitment to transportation and, more importantly, the content of his character. I believe all cities will benefit from having a mayor who's intimately familiar with their needs serve as U.S. Transportation Secretary and fully support his confirmation to serve in that role."
During the hearing, Foxx also called for a new surface transportation bill lasting longer than the two years authorized in MAP-21, the current surface transportation bill. Foxx called for continuation of the TIGER program as a model of multi-modalism and noted Charlotte used their TIGER grant to extend light rail platforms which would have been impossible using federal formula funds.
NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor, Avondale, AZ sent a letter to Foxx expressing the organization's support of his nomination. In the letter Rogers wrote, "NLC and all city officials are proud to work in support of your nomination and together look forward to championing transportation initiatives throughout the country. We share the President's goal in building a 21st Century infrastructure worthy of this great nation."