by: Torie Wells Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was met with a warm welcome back Tuesday evening as he spoke at the annual Chamber of Commerce Meeting at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown.
Foxx told the crowd of business leaders and elected officials he left Charlotte 154 days ago, but what he did here is guiding him in Washington.
"We turned negative job growth into positive job growth," he said.
Foxx told the crowd transportation is a key part of business and economic growth.
"It's it's a lifeline for American families and American businesses that brings us all home," he said.
Foxx said the country has an infrastructure deficit with aging bridges, ports that need to be deepened and growing cities.
"People are stuck in traffic, businesses are having a tougher time getting goods and things moved around," he said.
He said he's focused on speeding up transportation projects while saving money, working with states so federal dollars are used more efficiently while also creating more jobs.
He said the country needs a national transportation plan.
"We must connect every American to the 21st century economy," Foxx said.
Veronica Greene works for a transportation services company in Charlotte and said Foxx's comments hit home.
"(He) let us know that what we are doing is right on track," Greene said.
Because of an ethics agreement, Foxx cannot talk specifically about Charlotte transportation issues for about a year. He couldn't comment on projects here in Charlotte or the battle over airport control.
One thing the former mayor did touch on was the new leadership in the city. He told the business and political leaders that he wishes the new council and new mayor well.
Mayor Patrick Cannon served as mayor pro tem with Foxx.
"He's a good politician. He knows the city well. He's been around for 20 years doing things in the community so he's got a great foundation," Foxx said.
He told reporters he sent Cannon a note congratulating him personally.
He thanked Patsy Kinsey for her work stepping in when he left.