President Obama on Monday will nominate Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be his next secretary of Transportation, a White House official confirmed to The Hill.
Foxx would replace outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who announced his retirement earlier this year. LaHood said he would remain in office until the Senate confirms his successor.
The administration touted Foxx's work on Charlotte’s Streetcar Project, efforts to boost the city’s freight transport industry, and expansions to Charlotte International Airport and a light rail system.
“Foxx’s career as a public official, in a rapidly changing urban environment, has been marked by an ability to integrate local, state and federal resources to meet important transportation challenges – expertise he will bring to his critical interactions with leaders at the state and local level as Secretary of Transportation,” the White House said.
Foxx, was rumored to be on the shortlist for the nation’s top transportation post, along with National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman.
If confirmed, Foxx, like LaHood, will come to the DOT position directly from an elected political office. LaHood was a long-term Republican congressman from Illinois when he was selected to be Obama’s first Transportation secretary.
Some transportation advocates questioned Foxx’s transportation experience when his name was first floated.
Charlotte has won praise for constructing a light rail line that opened in 2007, and Foxx has vocally pushed for more public transit in the southeastern city.
Foxx, who is in his second term as mayor of Charlotte, saw his profile rise after the 2012 Democratic National Convention was held in his city.
Foxx would also be the only African-American selected so far for a post in Obama’s second term Cabinet.
The president has seen criticism from many allies, including Congressional Black Caucus members who say he has failed to appoint enough women and minorities to top level posts. Attorney General Eric Holder is the only other African American member of the Cabinet.
Before serving as mayor, Foxx worked as a lawyer, including stints on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee and Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Even in his last months as Transportation secretary, LaHood has kept a high profile as Congress debated sequester budget cuts for air traffic controllers and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” airplane.
This story was updated at 8:04 p.m.
Keith Laing contributed