In a rare 100-0 vote in the U.S. Senate, new Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx was confirmed in June 2013. The now-former mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina told BetterRoads.com that his top priorities are overall transportation safety, improving efficiency and performance of existing transportation systems and building a system that answers future needs and requirements.
While those may be very broad in focus, “efficiency and performance” should include maintenance of existing roads and highways, including pothole repair and prevention. But funding issues have yet to be resolved on that front, as illustrated by questions that came up in his Senate hearing.
Foxx’s background as mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina includes the completion of a new beltway (I-485), the repair of Yadkin Bridge, which notably was funded by new tolls instituted by the state governor, as well as expansions and repairs to the Charlotte-Douglas airport, building a regional intermodal facility and initiating a streetcar project in downtown Charlotte.
In his confirmation hearings, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) proffered questions on the elephant in the living room: how with declining gas tax revenues, due largely to gas-efficient vehicles, such that the Department of Transportation can achieve its mandates. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), chairman of the Transportation Committee, urged the new secretary to “be bold and raise more money for roads, bridges, air-traffic control and other infrastructure,” according to the Charlotte Observer.
Foxx replaces outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, whose tenure in the position includes establishing higher mileage standards, public education campaigns against distracted driving and initiating several high-speed rail projects. In nominating Foxx, President Obama announced that he would ask the Congress for greater infrastructure spending, “putting Americans to work repairing the nation’s roads and bridges … one of the best ways to boost the economy,” according to the Washington Post.