Yesterday, I moderated a panel discussion of business leaders and policy wonks, including my friend, Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado.
The venue? The Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA Conference.
The topic of discussion? How to bring more private sector dollars to America’s streets – and also bridges, waterways, airports, subways, and rails.
Fastlane readers know that our transportation system is screaming for more investment. The United States is on track to underinvest in transportation by about one trillion dollars by the end of the decade, and this is happening at a time when demand for transportation is increasing. America will be home to 70 million more people by 2045, and we will have to move 45 percent more freight.
Yesterday, we dared to write a blog post celebrating data. Today, we are unapologetically following that with a post celebrating wireless technology. The transportation connection? With DOT support, vehicle-to-vehicle communication is coming to the automobile market, and it will make our lives safer and help us go Beyond Traffic.
As we wrote here last month about this game-changing technology, "when a car can see what a driver can't, yours could warn you of a potential crash or icy roads ahead; advise you of a traffic jam ahead and automatically recalculate your travel route; or even help you locate an available parking space."
And it appears that the editors of MIT's Technology Review were listening. Because when the Review released its list of "10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2015" in late February, Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication was right there. Listed among the key contributors were our very own National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as the University of Michigan, where we launched our first large-scale V2V pilot program. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Office of Research Technology (OSTR) here at DOT have also been instrumental...
It is hard to overstate America’s reliance on a safe and efficient freight network. This network is the circulation system that fuels our economy health and helps secure our Nation, and the Obama Administration has consistently emphasized the importance of improving our infrastructure.
That is exactly what brought me to Quincy, IL, earlier this month. With $12 billion in goods transported to global markets each year through Quincy by road, rail, or river, this community is a domestic and international economic hub.
Because our population will grow by 70 million during the next 30 years --and to support that population our freight volume will have to increase by 45 percent-- community leaders in Quincy are working with DOT's Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC) to develop a port that can support the region’s expected freight growth...
Last Friday afternoon, our GROW AMERICA Express bus tour pulled into Washington, DC's, Union Station after a 1,100-mile journey through five states. We had gone on the road four days earlier for one reason: to encourage Congress to act on a long-term transportation bill.
In Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and DC, I saw great examples of the kind of investment in transportation infrastructure that can help communities grow, help businesses compete, and help people get more safely and reliably to jobs and other opportunities.
We also visited places where strong projects that would achieve those same goals were stuck perpetually on the launch pad.
Many thanks to everyone who turned out to welcome us back to DC!
This morning, the GROW AMERICA Express pulled into Virginia’s Richmond International Airport, where we made two big safety announcements. These steps forward on safety highlight the ways that government, consumer advocates, and businesses can work together.
At the airport, I was joined by Mark Rosekind, the Administrator of our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, by safety advocate Rosemary Shahan, and by representatives of the rental car industry to talk about how we can keep vehicles with safety defects off our highways.
As Fast Lane readers know, industry and safety advocates don't always agree, but these folks have come together on a common-sense proposition: rental car agencies should not be able to rent a vehicle that is under a safety recall until any safety defects have been repaired...
This afternoon I visited Durham, North Carolina, where I got an up-close view of the powerful effect that transportation investment can have on people’s lives.
While planning progresses on the rail line, the downtown Durham area is already undergoing a renaissance. New businesses are sprouting up; existing businesses are moving to the area; and new restaurants are opening. This is all well in advance of the light rail line’s opening, projected to be in 2026.
Getting to opening day, however, will take continued financial support. Durham and Chapel Hill as well as countless other communities across the country need to be able to commit to multi-year transportation projects, but they need federal funding in addition to local funding commitments to do that...
When you're making the case for stable investment in American passenger rail, it helps to have with you the nation's greatest champion for passenger rail --Vice President Joe Biden.
The Vice President and I have been traveling up the East Coast this week as part of the GROW AMERICA Express to focus America’s attention on our infrastructure, and to remind the American people that we are at a crucial crossroads. And as we consider our options for moving forward, Vice President Biden knows well that passenger rail is an important piece of the transportation puzzle...
North Carolina’s transportation infrastructure is one of our state’s most important assets, touching every North Carolina citizen in one way or another through its impact on safety, quality of life, economic development, and daily commerce. That network gets kids to school, employees to work, groceries to shelves, and more. It is crucial to North Carolina.
North Carolina is attracting people at one of the fastest rates of any state across the country. With the growing population, it will be critical to provide a 21st Century network of roads, highways, and bridges that can accommodate the mobility demands of our citizens.
However, North Carolina is heading towards a transportation crisis with declining sustainability, growing population, aging roads and bridges, and well-documented transportation needs. And the problem won’t get any better or go away as we add 3 million residents over the next 15 years...
Owen Steel in Columbia, SC, is a great success story. For nearly 80 years, every time a city has made a choice about their future –and decided to build a bridge or an office building or a hospital– Owen Steel has rolled out steel fabrications to help build those structures. This company has produced some of the largest steel towers in the US and has had a hand in some of our greatest infrastructure. For example, 1,500 tons of Owen steel holds up the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island.
But a few miles away, where I-26 and I-20 meet, we saw a highway where a massive infrastructure project ought to be--but isn't. Known locally as “Malfunction Junction,” this intersection poses a constant bottleneck to motorists and truck drivers.
Reworking “Malfunction Junction” is one of South Carolina’s top transportation improvement projects; it would reduce the traffic jams that slow freight movement and frustrate thousands of drivers each day. Unfortunately, that solution is years away from starting for a pretty simple reason: inadequate funding...
It's a great privilege to have Vice President Biden join me on the GROW AMERICA Express today and tomorrow. Together, we'll try to focus America’s attention on our infrastructure and remind the American people that the future is a choice.
And few communities understand that better than our first stop this morning, the Port of Charleston, South Carolina. Because Charleston has already decided what future they want to have when it comes to transportation...