Truckers welcome opportunities with new transportation secretary

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Monday, April 29, 2013

President Obama has nominated Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be the next transportation secretary for the United States. The nomination on Monday, April 29, puts an end to speculation about who would fill the shoes of the departing secretary, Ray LaHood.

Foxx has been mayor of Charlotte, NC, since 2009. Prior to that, he was a civil rights attorney for the U.S. Justice Department. He must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before he can become part of the president’s Cabinet.

Truckers welcome the opportunity to work with Foxx.

“Coming from a freight hub such as Charlotte, NC, we believe he understands the importance of freight movement on our nation’s highway system to the economy,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said. “Stabilizing the Highway Trust Fund and ensuring our nation is able to make needed highway investments are critical needs moving forward.”

The Association hopes the new secretary will take action on smart safety policies, like entry-level training, which has been delayed for far too long despite the clear positive impact it would have on improving the highway safety. 

“Small businesses have faced a significant increase in costly regulatory mandates that, in our view, are the wrong way to meet our highway safety challenges,” Spencer said. “The nomination of Mayor Foxx should be an opportunity for a fresh look at questionable regulatory initiatives.”

During a speech Monday at the White House, President Obama introduced Foxx to the nation and thanked LaHood for his service, saying LaHood “may be the best secretary of transportation the nation ever had.”

LaHood thanked the president for raising fuel-economy standards for vehicles and for allowing him to run an aggressive campaign to stop distracted driving. LaHood announced in January that he would step down as soon as the president named his successor.

Foxx, 42, has no formal transportation credentials, but as mayor of Charlotte, he did pave the way for modern streetcars, expanded the Carlotte-Douglas International Airport, and expanded light rail.

He said that once confirmed, he will uphold a high standard for transportation and keep it bipartisan.

“We must work across party lines to enhance the nation’s infrastructure,” Foxx said.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-PA, issued a statement wishing the outgoing secretary well and urging Foxx to allow transportation to make the nation more competitive.

“These issues are about jobs, quality of life, and prosperity,” Shuster said. “I remain committed to building consensus about how to strengthen our infrastructure, promote economic growth, and make the nation more competitive in the global marketplace. Once he has been confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to working with Mayor Foxx to achieve these goals for our country.”

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