DOT nominee sails through first confirmation hearing

DOT nominee sails through first confirmation hearing

“Smooth sailing” characterized yesterday’s confirmation hearing for Transportation Secretary nominee Anthony Foxx before the U.S. Senate’s Commerce Committee, with the current mayor of Charlotte, NC, addressing a wide variety of transportation issues including reauthorization of two-year Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century or “MAP-21” highway bill that expires at the end of 2014.

“I’d like to be an activate participant in the reauthorization process,” Foxx said at the hearing. “We clearer need a longer-term bill and one that provides a sustainable source of infrastructure funding for the future.”

Much of the hearing centered on Foxx’s approach to budgeting, specifically how he would prioritize transportation projects at the current level of funding. “We had to make tough choices in Charlotte over the past couple of years” when it came to funding transportation projects, he noted. “We only had funds one-fifth the size of the transportation needs in our city, so we had to prioritize.”

From his presumptive post as head of the Department of Transportation (DOT), Foxx said he would focus available funds primarily on projects that “are most effective connecting people to jobs and connecting our nation to the global marketplace.”

He added that one of the things he learned as Charlotte’s mayor is that one can’t stay within the “bubble” of elective office, so Foxx plans to be what called “high visible in the community” as part of the DOT’s effort to improve and expand U.S. transportation infrastructure.

So far, no roadblocks are popping up for Foxx’s nomination for U.S. Transportation Secretary. Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) told Politco that he expects Foxx’s confirmation to be “relatively smooth” and that “his reception has been pretty good from both sides.”

The American Trucking Assns. (ATA) also put together a video to provide what the trade group dubbed “advice” for Foxx should be confirmed – as most expect – as the new Secretary of Transportation.

“Does he have an interest in reaching out to the trucking industry in general on the issue of highway safety,” noted Dan England, chairman of refrigerated TL carrier C.R. England, in the video. “Because I believe it’s not just a ‘one way street’ in terms of good ideas for safer highways for the public. I’d like to see an ‘open door’ by the Secretary to seek our input on safety and not just be on the receiving end of regulations.”

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