Moving to fill one of the few remaining Cabinet vacancies of his second term, President Obama has announced that he will nominate Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx to lead the U.S. Dept. of Transportation.
If the Senate confirms Foxx, he will face major infrastructure issues. Topping the list, construction and transportation industry officials say, is finding a way to shore up the ailing Highway Trust Fund and, beyond next year, provide more-assured financing for roads and transit.
In announcing the selection on April 29, Obama said Foxx will be "extraordinarily effective" at
If the Senate approves him, Foxx would succeed Ray LaHood, who has held the top DOT post since 2009. LaHood announced on Jan. 29 that he would step down when a successor is confirmed. Industry officials praised Foxx's selection but noted that solving funding issues is critical.
The Highway Trust Fund highway account is projected to fall into the red after September 2014, when the current highway-transit law, MAP-21, lapses.
Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, said Foxx "has a unique opportunity to promote new sources of revenue to address chronic shortfalls in federal funding for our aging network of highways, bridges, airports and transit systems."
American Public Transportation Association CEO Michael Melaniphy said a top challenge for Foxx is a long-term finance solution and adequate levels for the trust-fund mass-transit account in MAP-21's successor. "Everything else is much lower on the list," he added.