The New Secretary has to sell NextGen, but may have much needed access to the White House

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ARTICLE: Foxx tells Senate infrastructure modernization will be DOT priority


Secretary-nominee Foxx had his day before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. As widely reported, the nomination is likely to be voted on favorably by this august body. His prepared statement was plain vanilla.

According to ATW, the soon-to-be Secretary spoke positively about NextGen, saying that there:

“is real agreement” in Congress ‘that infrastructure is good for this country’ and important to ‘make us globally competitive.’ However, he added, ‘We do have challenges to figuring out a long-term path for funding our infrastructure.’”

Later, he is quoted regarding his approval of FAA’s NextGen ATC project, calling it “an exciting opportunity” and “a key innovation that enjoys broad support.”

Acknowledging NextGen’s funding challenges, Foxx said he intends to “engage the stakeholders that will benefit from moving to a satellite-based ATC system, namely airlines.”

Once he reaches his new office and the representatives of A4A, RAA and other industry groups visit him there, he will have to refine his understanding of where the aviation community is on NextGen. There are skeptics about the cost/benefits associated with some of the technology proposed. He has some convincing to do.

The Washington Post article includes a statement that provides some optimism:

“Foxx won national recognition when Charlotte hosted the Democratic National Convention last year, and he was a key surrogate in North Carolina for the president during his re-election bid last fall. He calls Obama a friend.”

It has been a while since the Secretary of Transportation has good access to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If Secretary Foxx can reach the White House, perhaps the Administration can initiate some positive new ideas in this sector, rather than resurrecting old ideas that continue to be opposed.

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