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Advocates give nod to new transportation secretary

Published June 28, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRAIN) — The Senate unanimously confirmed Anthony Foxx, 42, as the next Secretary of Transportation on Thursday with a vote of 100 to 0. Foxx, the former Democratic mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, will replace outgoing Secretary Ray LaHood. 

Early reaction to the news by cycling advocates is positive. 

“Anthony Foxx does have a track record of supporting cycling, so we’re optimistic,” said Tim Blumenthal, president of Bikes Belong. “At the same time, it’s hard to even imagine how any new secretary could be as helpful and as much of a powerhouse as Secretary LaHood. He was a republican member of congress from Peoria, Illinois, so he was a great messenger. He talked about the benefits of federal investment and good bike policy not only for people who ride bikes but everyone.”

Blumenthal did say that Charlotte has a bike-sharing program—a sign that the mayor supports cycling—and that Foxx’s personal ties to the president could potentially be a benefit. However, Foxx takes over the post during a challenging time as the DOT grapples with finding sustainable funding for improvements to roads, bridges and transit systems as the Highway Trust Fund is depleted and federal gas tax revenue is insufficient. 

In a statement on the League of American Bicyclists website, president Andy Clarke noted that the advocacy group is excited to get to work with the new secretary. 

“His experience as an elected official in a major U.S. city will be invaluable as he tackles issues of safety, congestion, equity and access in communities across the country,” Clarke said. “He understands that transportation is not an end in itself but a means to creating workable, livable communities where transportation choices —including bicycling — are readily available to all."

Foxx became the 48th and youngest mayor of Charlotte in December 2009. His political career began in 2005 with his election to city council as an at-large representative and he served two terms before being elected mayor. He also has worked for the Department of Justice and the House judiciary committee. 

During his first term as mayor, Foxx led a successful bid for the Democratic National Convention. 

Foxx received a law degree from New York University and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Davidson College. 

He and his wife, Samara, have two children, Hillary and Zachary.

Topics associated with this article: Advocacy/Non-profits

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