President Barack Obama diversified his cabinet today, nominating two-term Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx to head the Transportation Department. Foxx will be the first black man appointed to Obama’s second-term cabinet.
Foxx, who was the youngest mayor of Charlotte, seems ready to breach the partisan divide saying, “there is no such thing as a Republican or Democratic road, bridge, air field or rail system.” Though he may lack formal transportation experience, as mayor of Charlotte, Foxx took many important steps to improve the city’s transportation infrastructure as part of his overall strategy to boost the local economy.
“Since Anthony took office, they’ve broken ground on a new streetcar project that’s going to bring modern electric tram service to the downtown area,” Obama said April 29. “They’ve expanded the international airport. And they’re extending the city’s light rail system. All of that has not only helped create new jobs, it’s helped Charlotte become more attractive to business. So I know Anthony’s experience will make him an outstanding transportation secretary.”
The news of Foxx’s nomination comes just one week after former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s move to furlough thousands of air traffic controllers brought many flights to a standstill. This widely unpopular move resulted in the Senate’s passage of the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013.
If enacted, the legislation would give the transportation secretary budgetary authority to transfer specific funds to prevent reduced Federal Aviation Administration operations and staffing. Foxx, if confirmed by the Senate, would then have the ability to ease last week’s dramatic cuts and hopefully bring air travel back to baseline.