About Anthony Foxx
Title: 17th United States Secretary of Transportation
Date of Swearing in: July 2, 2013
- Mayor of Charlotte, N.C., 2009-2013
- At-Large Representative, Charlotte City Council
- Chair, Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization
Notable Accomplishments: Extended the LYNX light rail system; Expanded Charlotte-Douglas International Airport; worked with North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue to accelerate the I-485 outer belt loop using a creative design-build-finance approach, the first major project of its kind in North Carolina; and initiating the Charlotte Streetcar project.
Family: Foxx and his wife, Samara, have two children, Hillary and Zachary
On July 2, Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Anthony Foxx was sworn in as the 17th U.S. secretary of transportation during a private ceremony at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters. Foxx is the youngest member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet. He replaced outgoing Secretary Ray LaHood, former Republican Illinois congressman who served as secretary from 2009 until 2013.
Foxx will have a tough act to follow in LaHood, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1994 and leveraged his substantial ties with lawmakers at the department to advance the objectives of the Obama Administration. LaHood managed billions in spending on infrastructure, from bike pathways to high-speed rail, as part of the economic stimulus, budget appropriations, and TIGER grants.
Foxx understands his challenges as secretary and shared his top priority. In a statement released to the media, Foxx said, “Safety will remain our top priority at the department of transportation. At the same time, I will work to improve the efficiency and performance of our current transportation system while building the infrastructure we need for future generations.” He added, “In doing so, I look forward to bringing my ‘on the ground’ experiences as a mayor, while embracing the tremendous knowledge, skill and ingenuity of the DOT workforce and our many stakeholders.”
The Road Ahead
As U.S. secretary of transportation, Foxx heads an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees the nation’s highway, transit, aviation, maritime and rail transportation issues. His primary goal is to ensure America maintains the safest, most efficient transportation system in the world. In a statement to the media, Foxx said, “Safer, more efficient transportation can make a difference in every American’s life. I’ve seen it firsthand in Charlotte, and I’m looking forward to continuing the president’s commitment to improve transportation in communities across the country.”
Foxx plans to secure a sustainable funding stream for badly needed improvements to roads, bridges and transit systems. One problem for the Highway Trust Fund is that Americans are driving less and using more fuel-efficient cars, such as hybrids and electric cars. The fund depends on federal gasoline tax revenue which in recent years has become an insufficient source of support and Congress has bailed it out with more than $50 billion from the U.S. Treasury over the past five years. The 18.4-cents-gallon-tax has remained unchanged for two decades and Foxx needs to consider whether to lobby the president on replacing it with something else.
Budgeting and finance-sourcing is a serious concern for the new secretary as he could be influential in deciding whether local and state governments receive federal funding for future projects. For instance, the city of Charlotte is seeking a $63 million federal grant to build the streetcar line Foxx spearheaded as mayor last year. The project didn’t receive funding but remains likely to get support. North Carolina also plans to build a high-speed rail from Charlotte to Raleigh, N.C., another project Foxx has supported.