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PoliticsI’m Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation. AMA.

Jan 4th 2017 by SecretaryFoxx • 13 Questions • 204 Points

Hello, everyone! I’m Anthony Foxx, U.S Secretary of Transportation. Before I head to Las Vegas for CES, I’ll be answering your questions here at Reddit headquarters in San Francisco. Since I joined DOT in 2013, we’ve accomplished some pretty amazing things and kept our eye on the future. We launched a national conversation about the critical challenges facing our country over the next 30 years with the Beyond Traffic report. We’re helping to build America’s first smart city - Columbus, Ohio, the winner of our Smart City Challenge. In September, we issued the world’s first national policy for automated vehicles and our Transportation Toolkit will change how Americans participate in the transportation planning process in their communities.

A couple of fun facts:

1) I’m a huge Yankees fan despite my Southern roots.

2) This Summer, I interviewed my good friend Wynton Marsalis on how the sounds of transportation have inspired his music. Watch it here: https://youtu.be/3zQ7g1KcTVw.

Proof: https://twitter.com/SecretaryFoxx/status/815627167707136000

More Proof: https://i.redd.it/y00p6ytour7y.jpg

Q:

Secretary Foxx, Cars have slowly taken over modern city lives to the point where our entire cities are built around them. We prioritize cars above people in our cities, and in turn businesses and events and protests are not easily achievable in this space. Pollution is also a big problem in our cities.

With cars taking over city streets and us giving insane amounts of space for cars and traveling instead of giving space for communities, events and small businesses, have you ever considered strategies for letting communities and businesses flourish in cities and gradually decreasing the influence of cars in streets with things such as Superblocks? And if so, how have plans like these been received?

A:

Folks have tried lots of strategies, including shutting down traffic in cities. Really, I think we have to let individual choice prevail here and, at the local level through zoning and other means, put the incentive structure around making as many choices as possible neutral -- in terms of travel time, in terms of convenience.


Q:

How soon do you think we'll have more high-speed trains in the US (besides Acela)? I recently traveled between South Bend, IN, and Washington, DC, on Amtrak - a nearly 17-hour trek each way.

A:

One of the biggest opportunities for rural America is an end to end commuter rail and intercity passenger rail system. Amtrak has some great leadership and is building capacity to take on a bolder vision. They will need help from Congress and the American public to do so.


Q:

In terms of spending, do you approve of Trump's proposed Infrastructure budget?

A:

Haven't seen it yet. Look, a big package sounds good but the devil is always in the details.


Q:

Secretary Foxx, What do you enjoy the most at your job?

A:

Seeing stuff happen. I just went to the opening of the Second Avenue Station in NYC -- 100 years in the making. Would love to shrink that delivery time and have been working to do so.


Q:

So, what's the plan after you leave the USDOT?

A:

I am doing pick ups and drop offs for a little while.


Q:

L.A. resident here. Our city just approved the expansion of our subway system, due to acquiring federal funds. It's only being extended 9 miles, but it is expected to take over 10 years. Is a shortage of labor the primary reason for how long it takes?

A:

No, usually segments are built in phases due to lots of factors: funding constraints, etc. Congrats though on Measure R -- a really big deal.


Q:

Why do you have two x's in your surname? Were you originally called Fox and you thought one x wasn't enough, or did you have two right from the start?

A:

I have always had two x's in my name. But that was not true three generations ago in my family. Don't know the full story. But how someone goes from Eric Bishop to Jamie Foxx, I don't know. Ha, ha, just joking Jamie. Please don't cut off my inheritance.


Q:

When do you think the new North (Hudson) River tunnels will begin construction?

A:

The single biggest infrastructure project in our country once undertaken. We have done everything we can to position the project for construction -- putting the project on accelerated permitting schedules, putting it in our new emerging projects program for innovative financing and supporting early design work. The local leaders will have to keep pushing themselves to advance things. We clearly don't have a 100 years to wait so we are doing all we can.


Q:

Secretary Foxx, In 2015 you were the cabinet member to not attend the State of the Union, in case of an attack on the event. You were possibly going to be the last standing government official if something went terribly wrong. Was this scary for you? How did this feel? Did you feel you were prepared to become POTUS? Lastly, how were you chosen for this role?

A:

Look, there is very little I can say about this without violating international security but the popsicles were great. Just kidding... It was pretty humbling but I am very glad President and Mrs. Obama made it home that night.


Q:

When are you going to fix some bridges dude?

A:

Man, didn't you see me outside this morning in my orange jacket? No, seriously, I don't think you'll find someone who has worked harder over these past few years to push for more resources to fix our broken system. We finally got a bill passed and signed by President Obama on December 4, 2015. It will take a little while for folks to feel the effects of this bill but it will happen. It's just not big enough to fix every problem we have.


Q:

It's known that the Ford Motor Company bought out the LA rail system back in the early 20th century, dismantaling a great public system so it can sell cars.

With the DOT ever stand up to the big corporations and their greed for profit and implement better public transportation?

A:

I have been making a strong case for a multimodal transportation system -- autos, trains, buses, walking, biking, air, all of it. Right now, we put our finger on the scale and program money according to each program. It would be smarter to offer more flexibility and tie that flexibility to certain outcomes. We pushed legislation to do some of this.


Q:

What is your favorite color?

A:

Red but not the orangey version, more like a cardinal red like Davidson (yo - Steph Curry, you hearing me?)


Q:

What are your thoughts on oatmeal cookies?

A:

There is only one real cookie in my mind, and it is a chocolate chip cookie. All others pale in comparison. Plus, really, you want cooked raisins for dessert? C'mon man.