While Anthony Foxx has yet to light up the headlines, he has started work at a tough job with what appears to be a lukewarm and not-too-long honeymoon period.
So we wait to see just what kind of Secretary of Transportation he will be. His background has been assessed and analysts have become predictors, but it’s still too early to tell.
One factor that just might be a key to the answer is the fact that he is a sitting mayor of a major city. Governing’s Ryan Holywell does a nice job of looking at just how His Honor will call on his role as Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.
A key will be his reputation as something of a consensus builder. Someone with that background, coming to Washington in a position of power right now, is either going to be remembered for helping to turn around a poisonous partisanship and political timidity that is doing significant and constant damage to the way we address our infrastructure needs, or for being naïve and surprised when his conciliatory approach met a wall.
The bottom line is that bipartisanship is the only major tool he has to work with. (What he really needs is more money, but that’s something he doesn’t, and won’t, have.) But bipartisanship can be wallpaper. What he needs to do is find a consensus and then have it do something other than congratulate itself for putting aside politics. If you get your consensus, Mr. Secretary, put it to work.