How would Charlotte benefit if Foxx goes to Washington? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

How would Charlotte benefit if Foxx goes to Washington?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

If President Obama's nomination is confirmed by the Senate, he'll thrust Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx into a position of real power, overseeing a budget of more than $70 billion and managing the country's roads, skies and rails.

Foxx made sure to give Charlotte a shout-out during his first press-conference with the president yesterday.

"I also want to thank the wonderful people of Charlotte," he said.

But how deep will his gratitude go? Foxx's nomination has raised hopes that he'll steer federal money here, and history shows us it could happen.

Retiring U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is from Illinois, and during his tenure, Chicago's O'Hare airport received more federal funding than any other airport in history for reconstruction...nearly $800 million.

Prior to that, President Bill Clinton hired Denver Mayor Federico Pena to be his Secretary of Transportation, and Pena infamously secured hundreds of millions in federal funds for Denver's airport both before and during his time in D.C.

Congressman Robert Pittenger says the Charlotte area is in need of some special attention. "We have major road congestion on 77 and 85," he says. "Those roads need to be widened significantly."

But Gene Conti, former secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation once served as assistant DOT secretary and he says it's not like Foxx can just start throwing money our way.

"It's not a matter of just funneling money back to your home state," Conti says. "I think that's a little big exaggerated."

Still, he says Foxx will surely lend us a sympathetic ear.

"If you have a good project, if you have good concepts about moving transportation forward, then I think he would be sympathetic to hearing those," Conti says.

Pittenger hopes we get that and more. "Frankly we've been a donor region to the state of North Carolina and we've been a donor state to the federal programs, so I welcome any role he could play in fairness," he says.

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