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With America's population expected to grow by 70 million over the next 30 years, moving the goods that enrich our lives --and the freight that fuels our economy-- will be a key challenge.  As our Beyond Traffic draft framework indicates, by 2045, the volume of goods on our roads, rail, air, and water will increase 45 percent or more.

Because tomorrow's looming increase will pose a significant burden on our transportation system, we must prepare to handle that freight now by developing and investing in solutions today.  The good news is that DOT is working to do just that.

Our Nation’s navigable waterways offer us a terrific, underused resource, and the Maritime Administration’s Marine Highway Program works to incorporate that excess capacity into the U.S. transportation system --especially where marine transportation services present the most efficient and sustainable freight option. Continued development and investment along these 22 all-water Marine Highway Routes will provide more choices to shippers, help alleviate road and rail congestion, and accommodate future freight growth.

Just last week, Secretary Foxx designated three new marine highway projects aimed at making these waterborne routes seamless extensions of America’s transportation system and helping move us Beyond Traffic...

Barges on AMH

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If you're not a datahead, you might have missed this news.  Last month, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported that, "U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States carried an all-time high of 848.1 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in 2014."

Sure, 848 million is a lot of passengers, and more often than not, that would be interesting enough.  But today we want to go one better than the absolute number of enplanements; we want to talk about the "all-time high."  Because the previous record high was reached in 2007, and that means that, after the brutal recession, air travel --and the economy-- are truly back.

Want to see the relationship between economic activity and air travelers without pesky numbers getting in the way?  Thanks to BTS, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and a little spreadsheet wizardry, you can:

Air passengers and GDP by year

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Every year, car buyers and auto enthusiasts await the release of Detroit's new models. It's an exciting moment to see what some of America's most innovative design and engineering teams can produce. But unlike cars, new models of American-made shipping vessels don't roll out every year.

From idea to service, new ships are usually 20 years in the making. So you can imagine how excited the maritime community is to see what rolled off the NASSCO shipyard line in San Diego this past weekend: the world's first Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) powered container ship.

Isla Bella rolls into water

The launch of this next generation of American-made vessels, commissioned by TOTE Maritime, was financed in part by a $324.6 million Title XI Loan Guarantee from the Maritime Administration (MARAD).  The new 764-foot Isla Bella includes a number of innovative technological advances. The key feature, of course, is that by burning LNG instead of diesel, it will significantly reduce harmful emissions...

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Every day, American companies ship cargo worth more than $5.5 billion through U.S. ports. That activity supports over 13 million American jobs nationwide. So it’s no secret that America’s ports keep America economically strong.

Since 1926, the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, has been doing just that, and they're ready to do even more. 

Last week, I was at the port to help celebrate completion of the first phase of a planned railyard expansion. Fundedby a $10 million DOT TIGER grant and a public-private partnership, the expanded railyard will help the Port of Corpus Christi add capacity to meet growing demand, and it will improve the efficiency of existing cargo movement at the port. It will also take more than 600,000 trucks off the road, significantly reducing emissions in the area...

Opening of the Nueces River Railyard

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When we talk about "breaking ground," at the Federal Highway Administration, we're not just talking about moving some dirt. We're almost always also talking about moving people and freight where they need to go faster and more safely than before. And that was the story last week at the groundbreaking for the Boulder City Bypass in Nevada. 

The Bypass is an outstanding project that will help achieve three key DOT goals –enhanced safety, less congestion and more efficient movement of freight. We're also proud to support the Bypass because it will help bring Nevadans and Arizonans one step closer to the key regional goal of an eventual Interstate link between Las Vegas and Phoenix...

Greg Nadeau at Boulder City Bypass groundbreaking

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Today, with the swoop of two pens, India and America took a bold step towards a future where all forms of transportation – roads, rails, ports, airports – work together seamlessly.

This morning, I signed a Memorandum of Cooperation – or MOC – with India’s Minister of Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari. The Minister signed on behalf of three other ministries, and the memorandum outlines ways all of those agencies cooperate to strengthen India’s transportation system.

 US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and India’s Minister of Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping Nitin Gadkari sign MOC

Both India and America face shared challenges when it comes to the future of transportation: more people to move; more freight to carry; a climate where bigger, deadlier storms occur more often. And while we do not yet know exactly HOW we can overcome all these challenges, we understand that any solution must be guided by the same general principle: multi-modalism.

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After three months of lock upgrades and maintenance, the annual springtime reopening of the St. Lawrence Seaway System to navigation arrives tomorrow.

Here at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation --and at the Seaway's many ports in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota-- we can't wait to see the shipping traffic the 2015 navigation season brings.

And we're not the only ones, either. After all, the freight moving into and out of the U.S. does much more than keep the ports and Seaway employees busy...

Vessel transits a lock

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I have great admiration for the women who are pioneers in their chosen field. In my years at the Department of Transportation, first with the Federal Aviation Administration and now with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, I have seen many women with a vision succeed in getting things done. It's inspiring to see women break barriers and succeed in non-traditional industries, and I am proud to recognize them during Women’s History Month.

I'm also excited about my ride-along with Women In Trucking this week and about having the opportunity to see firsthand how women –vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts– navigate the challenges they face at loading docks, on the roadways, at safety inspection sites, at truck stops, and in the maintenance yard...

FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson (left) preparing to join U.S. Xpress truck driver Angela Jordan
FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson (left) preparing to join U.S. Xpress truck driver Angela Jordan, who has been a professional truck driver for 20 years and is approaching 2 million miles of safe driving. Photo courtesy Duane DeBruyne, FMCSA.
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Today, Congress has one new message in their inbox – and it is marked urgent: A new and improved GROW AMERICA act awaits their review.

America is in the midst of a growth spurt, and the problem is: our roads, rails, and transit systems do not automatically grow along with our country.

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Today, I was pleased to join federal, state, and local officials to celebrate the opening of a state-of-the-art transit system that provides Central Connecticut residents with rapid transport to jobs, schools, and community services. CTfastrak will carry passengers almost 10 miles, between the state’s capitol and surrounding suburbs, opening new connections and ladders of opportunity for both the car-less and those who wish to leave their cars behind. For some, CTfastrak will provide their first convenient access to a full-scale grocery store.

CTfastrak buses run in an exclusive lane, offering fast trips primarily because they won’t compete with cars. The system also features off-site fare collection, level boarding platforms, and even wifi.  The electric hybrid buses, which are 90 percent cleaner than standard buses, will work a lot like light rail, but on rubber tires. Outside the window, hikers, bikers, and joggers will enjoy a new multi-use trail.

I was thrilled to join Governor Dannel Malloy, U.S. Representatives John Larson and Elizabeth Esty, and other State and local officials, for the inaugural ride from Hartford to New Britain. Federal transportation sources, including FTA, contributed 80 percent toward the project’s $567 million price tag.

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