A Departure From Decades of Highway Policy

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is urging communities to think more carefully about where they build roads.

Before he was the United States Secretary of Transportation, before he was Mayor of Charlotte, before he was a Charlotte city councilmember, Anthony Foxx grew up in a split-level house in Charlotte in the shadow of two freeways: I-77 and I-85.

When his grandparents bought the house in 1961, he says, the area was part of an interconnected networks of streets and homes, a true neighborhood. Later, the state added two highways, cutting the house and its neighbors off from the rest of the city. There was one road in and out after the highways were completed, and the neighborhood slowly became a place where no one wanted to live or open a business, and where not even the pizza-delivery guy would go.

“That infrastructure sent a signal to me about my life,” he says.

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