If you want to be negative about it, its really hard to find something, Rockefeller said.
But Baker said it wont always be smooth sailing for Foxx, who follows Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois who had strong relationships on the hill. LaHood also had a stellar reputation in transportation policy circles, and earlier this year, some begged him to stay on board.
Baker added that Foxx might not be as well-equipped to handle Republican opposition to Obamas transportation priorities, including mass transit and high-speed rail.
Mass transit is something thats a difficult sell, particularly for House Republicans, he said.
His work for a manufacturer of hybrid buses could generate some critical questions. While mayor, Foxx also has been deputy general counsel for DesignLine, a company thats received millions of dollars from Obamas economic stimulus program.
The Charlotte Observer reported earlier this month that the company had been sued over allegedly defective vehicles, had been accused of missing product delivery deadlines and lost business from transit authorities that canceled contracts over reliability concerns.
Foxxs spokesman referred the newspapers questions about the mayors work with DesignLine to the White House. A White House official told the paper that all cabinet nominees are required to sign an ethics pledge that prohibits them from participation in matters that directly relate to their former employers.
As DOT secretary, Foxx would oversee multiple agencies that regulate his former employer, including the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
While the transportation post isnt as high-profile as some other cabinet slots, it deals with pivotal issues that impact the economy and the lives of every day people. Foxx would come to the department weeks after the Federal Aviation Administration furloughed thousands of air-traffic controllers and proposed closing dozens of airport towers because of mandatory spending cuts known as sequestration.
Under pressure from industry groups and the public, Congress has since given the agency authority to shift funds to head off the furloughs and closures.
Other budget challenges loom: the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which for decades has paid for the construction and maintenance of the nations highway and transit systems, is nearly broke. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the fund will have a $44 billion shortfall in a decade.
Card describes the job as part banker, part policy setter, part regulator and part investigator. Foxx doesnt need to be an expert on everything, Card said, and he can tap a wealth of knowledge inside and outside the department.
He said Foxx shouldnt have too much angst about the confirmation process.
I would say enjoy it, Card said. Have a good time.