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April 30, 2013

Anthony Foxx: Riding the Rails for Better Transportation

Foxx and Obama

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (center) is lauded by President Obama and outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (right) (Photo: Whitehouse.gov

Yesterday, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx was formally nominated to be the next Secretary of Transportation of the United States. President Obama praised Mayor Foxx’s strong record of investing in public transportation and creating good jobs by investing in infrastructure.
Of course, those of us in North Carolina already knew that.

But rather than listing Mayor Foxx’s achievements in making public transportation more accessible and more effective – whether it was by bringing electric trams to Charlotte or supporting the extension of
the LYNX light rail system that brought $1 billion in private development to the state  – I thought it would be more appropriate to share an anecdote.

In 2011, North Carolina made its way to the top of the list to receive federal funding for a big upgrade of rail between Raleigh and Charlotte, after the governor of another state foolishly rejected the job-creating infrastructure funding.  A legislator from Charlotte – however – was committed to ensuring that North Carolina turn down the funding as well, and drafted up a bill to that effect.

At a House Transportation committee, members heard from the public and other interested parties like local elected officials-- including Mayor Foxx – a three hour drive away from the Capitol in Raleigh – and Mayor Bill Bell, just a 30 minute drive away in Durham.

Mayor Bell, unfortunately, was late after being stuck in traffic on Interstate 40 which – as it so often is – was at a standstill. Mayor Foxx, however, arrived first and on time.

He took the train.

-Molly Diggins, State Director, North Carolina Sierra Club


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