Anthony Foxx, mayor of Charlotte, N.C., has been nominated to be the next secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Mayor Foxx and a team of public officials from his administration participated in the 2010-2011 class of public leaders serving as fellows for the ULI Rose Center for Public Leadership program.

Charlotte is regarded as a leader in addressing transportation issues; its extensive light rail system has helped reduce traffic congestion heading into and out of the city. As a ULI Rose fellow, Foxx focused on the importance of transportation infrastructure to maintain the economic and social well-being of Charlotte’s neighborhoods. He and his team worked with ULI on the implementation of a strategy to re-energize a major city thoroughfare (Independence Boulevard) to ensure the long-term viability of development along the corridor and the adjacent neighborhoods.

The plan was in response to the transformation of the boulevard from a major arterial to a limited access expressway with plans for a transit line, a major shift that had caused abandonment of commercial businesses located along the road. To stem the decline, the plan provided a clear vision and predictable future for the boulevard to attract reinvestment; proposed different land uses more suitable for the roadway’s future use; and encouraged more development within the street network adjacent to the thoroughfare. (Read more about this project.)

The Independence Boulevard plan is but one example of Mayor Foxx’s clear understanding of the connection between infrastructure and land use, said Patrick L. Phillips, ULI’s chief executive officer. “Mayor Foxx is a visionary who realizes the need for an integrated approach to transportation and land use planning,” Phillips said. “ULI was honored to work with Mayor Foxx and his team through the ULI Rose Center. He is a thoughtful leader who recognizes improved mobility in urban areas as a way to foster economic growth. As the mayor of a thriving U.S. city, Mayor Foxx would bring a highly valuable perspective to the U.S. Department of Transportation.”