DOT appointee Foxx downplays interstate tolling as a funding solution

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 5/22/2013

President Obama’s choice to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, says interstate tolling should be used only to add new capacity and should not be viewed as a solution to the shortfalls facing the Highway Trust Fund. Foxx faced questions from a Senate committee on Wednesday, May 22, as part of his confirmation process to become DOT secretary.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, led by Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, and ranking member John Thune, R-SD, questioned Foxx about how he would run the DOT and help solve challenges involved with infrastructure funding.

Foxx told the committee he would rely on his experience as the current mayor of Charlotte, NC, to make difficult choices and be accountable for the tough road ahead.

Questions about tolling and a public-private infrastructure bank drew interesting answers from the appointee.

A dialogue with Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, who said it would be a “disaster” if North Carolina were to toll I-95, shed light on where Foxx stands on the issue of tolling.

“Tolling, in my work as mayor, has a place,” Foxx told the committee. “But it’s sort of like what I said earlier about an infrastructure bank. We’re not going to toll our way to prosperity in our country. It can be used in some cases to add capacity … but I don’t think it is a complete solution.”

Foxx does believe the private sector can play a significant role in transportation, and stated in his testimony that he is a fan of public-private partnerships.

Foxx noted in his testimony that his three priorities for transportation are safety, efficiency and building for the future.

If confirmed by the full Senate, Foxx would take the reins from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood who is stepping down.

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