By on May 1, 2013

President Obama announced the nomination of Anthony Foxx, the current mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, as his choice to succeed Ray LaHood as the next head of the Department of Transportation.

While LaHood’s legacy will largely relate to distracted driving legislation and an increase in the CAFE standard, little is known about how Foxx will align himself and the DOT on auto related issues. So far, much of Foxx’s transportation related work involves infastructure, specifically mass transit projects for his home city.

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53 Comments on “Obama Nominates Anthony Foxx As Next DOT Head...”


  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Sigh. When I look for a job, first question that comes up is what experience I have that is relevant to the job at hand. Guess The Obama is not very concerned with such minutia.

  • avatar
    BerlinDave

    I see a lot of Cadillac’s on the road soon in the US?

    Perhaps time to buy into the neighborhood buy here, pay here store?

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “little is known about how Foxx will align himself and the DOT on auto related issues.”

    Little is known because Mayor Foxx knows very little about transportation policy, politics, funding, technology, engineering, infrastructure, private/public partnerships et al. The fact that Obama touts Foxx’s experience with Charlotte’s trolley system as sound transportation experience is a laughable ascertion; not that LaHood was any genius on the transportation front either.

    Obama bowed to political pressure and went with a diversity pick for a cabinet position that he considers, wrongly, to be non critical.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Let’s be fair, Foxx has more qualifications than that: he was also briefly a lawyer for a bus company.

      Foxx is at least as qualified for the position as his boss is for his. We’ve all seen how well the latter is working out.

      • 0 avatar
        noxioux

        I washed cars for two summers in college. . .

      • 0 avatar
        SVMaldemer

        What we needed was somebody with a horse training background. Someone like Michael Brown.

        On the bright side, we haven’t bombed Prague yet to avenge what happened in Boston. We would have if Bush was still presnitenting.

        (Not to mention we’d spend something like six trillion dollars to bring Freedom® to the Czechnyans and lose.)

        • 0 avatar
          SVMaldemer

          Besides, a few more Republicon administrations like the last one and we’ll all be riding horses again anyway (those of us who’ll be able to afford to ride instead of having to eat them). May as well get started.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          You might consider learning the difference between the Czech Republic and Chechnya before making ill-thought-out comments on geopolitical issues. Or any issue really.

      • 0 avatar
        Charliej

        Would you anti Obama people be happier with McCain and Palin. They could have completed George W’s destruction of the US economy. By the way, I lived in Alabama for sixty five years. I know racism when I read it. I love cars. I despise racist bigots. Why don’t you concentrate on cars and leave the racism behind. Also, you racist are in a minority that is getting smaller each day. Learn to live with it. By the way, I am an old white guy that did not drink the racist koolade.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Heh… he meets this admin’s main criterion.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    Has there *ever* been a Secretary of transportation who was a genuine technical expert on vehicles, infrastructure, or any related subject?

    It looks like Andrew Card was the only engineer ever appointed to the post.

    Seems like the appointment of non-technical non-expert political allies to this position is not a unique occurrence.

    It’s definitely not unique to the current administration.

    Ronald Reagan, for example, appointed 3 Secretaries of Transportation: one MBA and two lawyers. None of them appear to have any credible background in transportation.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      The last person from North Carolina (although at the time, she wasn’t a North Carolinian) to be Secretary of Transportation was Elizabeth Dole, who had zero experience in transportation. Her biggest accomplishments were regulations requiring a high-mounted brake-light (“Liddy lights”) and threatening to withhold transportation funding if states didn’t raise the drinking age to 21.

      However, I’d suggest that Mr. Foxx does have practical experience in the transportation field by being mayor of the largest city in NC and a massive airline hub (20th in the US these days and 6th largest airport?). If you know how NCDOT works, Charlotte consistently has to fight for its share of transportation dollars against the interests in Raleigh. Charlotte still never gets its deserved share of transport dollars in NC, and Mr. Foxx knows exactly how these sort of political environments work.

      A large percentage of being Secretary of Transportation is dealing with the variety of factions involved in transport, and Foxx has a lot of experience in that. I think we need more engineers in government, but as long as they have a voice at the table, I don’t know that DOT necessarily needs one heading it.

      Wow did the crazies come out in this thread…

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        @conrtrollio, As a Floridian by way of NC I really appreciate your take on this selection and the explanation as well. Its still amazes me that when a persons pic is put up that the first thing is to stereo type. I dont now why the man was chosen and neither do any of the commentators on this site. You can only assume that the administration has its reasoning.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Actually, Bush II’s first Transportation secretary, Norm Mineta, a former mayor of San Jose, WAS very well schooled on transportation issues, but only after spending years in state government dealing with those issues, not right out of the mayor’s office.

      Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee wrote that Mineta could talk to the press for an hour-plus about local and state transportation issues without notes. The Reporters came away with the accurate impression that he knew those issues as they relate to government policy inside out. Walters also noted that Mineta never provided a memorable quote, and never said anything that could get higher ups like the governor in any trouble.

      Mineta was the token Democrat in a Republican administration, marked by talking heads as most likely to be fired. After September 11, 2001 nobody wanted his job, and he stayed on until his 65th birthday, when he retired from 42 years of elected and appointed public service.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Yes, Norm Mineta was well-known for being quite knowledgeable about transportation issues and is a stand-up gentleman to boot. However, he didn’t spend any time in state government. He was well-known for being mayor of San Jose, and the San Jose airport is named after him.

        After his stint in the mayor’s office, he was elected to Congress in his San Jose-area district. It’s not a surprise that he knew a lot about his district’s transportation issues.

        However, his experience went far beyond that. His fingerprints are all over ISTEA, for you infrastructure buffs. Later in his House career, he became chair of the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (the infamous Bud Shuster, who was chair of the committee after him couldn’t wear Mineta’s shoes). He also chaired subcommittees of that House committee on surface transport and avaiation at various points. After he was out of the House, he also chaired the National Civil Aviation Review Commission, so he definitely had strong transportation credentials.

        Dealing with transport dollars from the mayor’s office is still a daunting task. You are fighting with the state and other cities across the state for transportation dollars. The difficulty of the job is especially acute in a city like Charlotte that is a huge city with a lot of transport needs, but isn’t a state capital. State capitals always get showered with undue funds, and cities like Charlotte get shorted and have to deal with more congestion and fewer lanes of freeways than they deserve.

        I’d also add that North Carolina has the biggest state highway system in the country because there aren’t generally county roads in NC (there’s only one, and it’s in Charlotte), so as a mayor you are constantly having to deal with the state DOT for transportation issues, as well as the metropolitan commission. Texas is right on NC’s (tar)heels for state roads and has many county roads.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Funny, I left a comment here about Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, and it’s gone. I don’t think I used any bad words, and I didn’t attack anybody. I DID mention a reporter by name and his newspaper, was that it? I’d kind of like to know what went too far, so I know what the limits are.

  • avatar
    jgcaulder

    Most folks in Charlotte are not sad to see him go. He pushed for a street car that would start in the ghetto and end in the ghetto on the other side of town. The city didn’t want it, though he kept pushing. Good riddance.

  • avatar
    Onus

    Maybe one day we can get some convergence with un standards. Doubt this guy will do it.

    Or better yet accept un standards as equivalent, on new and used cars. Emissions can remain separate.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    All these posts recall to mind 40+ years ago: DOT Doug Thoms and his 5,000 lb. “Safety Car”, complete with periscope so you could see what was behind you.

    All I hope for is that the highways are kept in good repair, steady improvements/replacements for the existing roads and bridges and more passenger trains. You know, what the Dept. of Transportation is SUPPOSED to do.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Being a red blooded black man can I weigh in? Forget the fact that Obama is 50% Caucasian,42%+/- Arabic a 7%+/- African. Did it really surprise anyone that qualifications did not matter as much as looks? How about someone from Detroit(the former automotive mecca, not the present war zone)?

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      Good points. I think Obama’s “blackness” is just another tool on his mental thumbdrive of political pandering apps. He is more accurately a slightly tanned reincarnation of his white mother’s burning hatred of America and its perceived effect on the struggling 3rd world micro-economies she adopted, combined with a truly messianic ego playing to a voter base of unparalleled naivete.

      And I wish more self-identified balck people would weigh in on the forums I frequent. Race hatred is growing in this country, fed by the imploding economy and fanned by media and politicians of all stripes. Open discussion is needed.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        30% of Americans believe Obama is a secret Muslim, 13& believe he’s the Anit-Christ and 4% believe Lizard people control politics (latest Public Policy Polling poll) and Sum people believe Obama uses his ‘blackness’ for political points. Funny that no one ever accused Dubbya for propogating his effervescent whiteness. Fun thing is ‘Murica is an incredibly ignorant population, regardless of the subject. Foxx seems to be a good choice and the rest, time will tell.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          I’d agree with most any vile thing you’d care to lay at W’s expensively booted feet.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          dolorean: Funny that no one ever accused Dubbya for propogating his effervescent whiteness.

          You must have missed the pundits and hysterics – and not from the right – who claimed that the Christian George W. Bush was going to turn the United States into a big, evangelical version of Saudi Arabia. Or that 9/11 was an inside job. Or that the Koch Brothers are conservative activists who are out to rule America (never mind that they support gay marriage and legalized marijuana). Or that Walmart is responsible for every bad thing – short of erectile dysfunction – that has happened since the Dust Bowl.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            Been trying to edit that comment Summicron, sory bout that, but TTAC editing wont load for some reason.
            @geeber, to your first point, really? ‘Murica didn’t become a more evangelical radical place since W’s Presidentc? Beg to differ. Second, left AND right wing pundits both espoused 9/11 was an inside job. Tin-foil hat conspiricists know no political affiliation sometimes. Finally, I do believe Wally World is responsible for many things I would characterize as shameful, but would never claim it to be responsible for all.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I had a similar problem with the editor.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            If you believe that American has become a more “evangelical radical place” since the Bush’s presidency, you don’t have any idea of what evangelicals really believe, and apparently are not up on current events as to what is happening in this country.

            As for Walmart – let’s compare it to Costco (the retail chain usually held up to put Walmart in a bad light) using actual figures.

            Walmart generated about $200,000 per employee in revenue last year, while Costco generated about $1 million per employee in revenue. So Walmart employs five people for every $1million in revenue, while Costco employs one person.

            Walmart is providing more jobs – granted, lower paying ones, but jobs nonetheless – for every dollar of revenue. Walmart moving to Costco’s business model would result in the firing over 1.7 million employees.

            I don’t believe that this is the result people had in mind when they compared Walmart to Costco. Unless we believe that people are better off being unemployed as opposed to working.

            As for the 9/11 conspiracy theorists – I googled “9/11 truthers” and found a list of people who believe that the federal government was behind 9/11, complete with their statements to that effect. The names?

            Michael Moore, Janeane Garofolo, Ed Asner, David Lynch, Rosie O’Donnell, Roseanne Barr, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen and Ed Begley, Jr., for starters. Seems pretty overwhelmingly left wing to me…

  • avatar
    Kevin

    It’s sad that exactly 14 of 32 posts are on topic, and of those one is crying about how Obama is a socialist.

    The rest is all racism. How pathetic.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      I agree. I come to sites like this for my love of cars. Sometimes politics plays a part in it(EPA, Bailouts) sometimes tits and ass are included (both babes). I dont care or give a rats ass about someones race, political leanings or sexual orientation. I just want to talk and read about F@$king cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        Find me a site about anything anywhere that doesn’t have the same thing happening in its comments. And public discourse is only going to get more rancorous.

        Besides, this particulat story was about a political appointee, so it got political.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    I truly sickens me that race was brought into this thread. It is not necessary. History is against you, just don’t go there.


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