Public transportation, in the eyes of U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, is the great unifier of society, the mode to break down barriers and link communities to education and success, to bridge the gap between classes.
Speaking as part of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs lecture series on May 14, Foxx stressed the importance of access to a balanced transit system.
“Transportation plays a role in connecting us all,” said Foxx. “It gives the people the shot of success that everyone deserves, putting everyone at the table of success one street at a time.”
However, much of this is in peril with funds dwindling, forcing a number of national projects to go unfinished. As action at the federal level stagnates, much of the work is left done to states and local governments. Yet, Foxx warned, this is still not enough. “We have grown too comfortable with the status quo. It has allowed us to ignore the problems we face as a country,” he said.
Foxx, who was appointed as U.S. Secretary of Transportation by President Obama in 2013, believes the current system requires a shake up, especially in terms of addressing our crumbling infrastructure and lack of progressive public mass transit.
As things stand now, Foxx said, 80 percent of federal transportation fund go to fixing highways as opposed to creating new modes of transportation with mass appeal and minimal impact to the environment.
“Transportation shows who we are, what we are as a country,” said Foxx. “We should constantly be looking forward. Present thinking is already past.”