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Buckhorn: New federal transportation secretary understands link between transit and economic growth

Under Secretary Ray LaHood, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been good to Tampa, and Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Monday he expects more of the same from the man nominated as LaHood's replacement, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.

"Mayor Foxx is a good friend and I could not be more pleased with President Obama's decision to appoint him as our next Secretary of Transportation," Buckhorn said in a prepared statement.

He continued: "He has made transportation a priority for Charlotte because he understands the important connection between mobility and economic development. He is conversant on transportation issues facing urban America and understands the challenges that local leaders face. Mayor Foxx represents the next generation of leadership and I look forward to working with him to expand and improve transit options here in Tampa."

As mayor of Charlotte for four years, Foxx has worked to extend a light-rail line, open another runway at the airport, complete a major highway widening, improve a major bridge and bring streetcars back to Charlotte, according to the New York Times.

Transportation projects in Tampa already have benefitted from a $10.9 million transportation grant to finish the Riverwalk and $105 million in federal stimulus money to help build a high-rise connector bridge between Interstate 4 and the Selmon Expressway.

And earlier this month, LaHood came to Tampa for a national bike safety summit.

LaHood said at the time he chose Tampa as the site for the summit because he said he believes in the bay area's potential to shed its reputation as a deadly place for pedestrians and cyclists.

"We think that there's probably not a better place in America than Tampa to launch a bike safety event," LaHood told the Tampa Bay Times.

Buckhorn and Foxx have one other thing in common. Each led his city as it prepared for a national political convention last year. Charlotte hosted the Democrats and Tampa the GOP.