Later today President Obama is expected to nominate Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to replace Ray LaHood as transportation secretary.
The last time we reported about Foxx, the North Carolina Legislature was trying to thwart his plans to pursue a streetcar and light rail expansion at the same time.
Speaking to the Washington Post, an anonymous White House official alluded to Charlotte’s economic health and transit progress as qualifications for the appointment, noting that Foxx is a supporter of high-speed rail and some of the president’s other transportation priorities.
Foxx has been mayor of Charlotte for about four years. Over that period, he has pursued both highway and transit expansion.
Sustainable transportation advocates are greeting the news about Foxx with guarded optimism. Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland reviews his qualifications for the job:
He’s a former lawyer who has spent most of his professional life in politics. From what I’ve seen reported so far, it appears Foxx does not have much transportation experience. He’s pushed for highway widening projects, he’s started a streetcar revival in Charlotte and he’s a big proponent of rail transit in general.
As for bicycling, Foxx has actively supported it. He’s held an annual “Bike to Breakfast” event and he hops on a road bike to help launch “Bike Charlotte,” an annual cycling promotional campaign. When Charlotte launched their bike share system last summer, Foxx grinned for the local media during the inaugural ride [above].
Richard Masoner at Cyclelicious, meanwhile, takes a deeper look at his local experience:
Although Foxx is short on experience beyond the municipal level, some smart growth and alternative transportation advocates are excited about Foxx, who extended a light rail line and brought in a streetcar to promote denser urban development. Foxx was instrumental in obtaining funding to complete the final segment of I-485, a 60 mile beltway that extends 15 miles outside of central Charlotte. Foxx also supports an NCDOT project to widen I-85 from six lanes to eight.
Expanding highways, transit, and bicycling options simultaneously is a good approximation of what we’ve seen so far from the Obama administration: giving people more transportation options without making much of an effort to rein in sprawl infrastructure.
Elsewhere on the Network today: Streets.mn wonders if Minnesota really needs a special law forbidding parking in bike lanes. The Kansas Cyclist reports that the Kansas City Royals have lifted a de facto ban on biking to Kauffman Stadium, saying the sports franchise will now allow cyclists to park their bikes along a fence. And the Transportationist shares a new study investigating how people estimate travel times by different modes and how misperceptions can influence decision making.