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Carrying 95 percent of U.S. foreign trade, our maritime transportation system, which includes America’s ports, is a crucial component of our nation’s economy. And with our growing population --and the associated need to increase the amount of freight our transportation network carries-- maritime’s value will only grow in the future.

This point is not lost on the Obama Administration, and it’s the reason why Vice President Joe Biden joined U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-3), Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim, Virginia Port Authority CEO/Executive Director John Reinhart, and me at the Port of Virginia in Norfolk on Wednesday. We were there to highlight the Port’s role as an economic engine for the region and its continued development of facilities and services in anticipation of the need to move greater freight volumes...

Photo of VP Biden in Norfolk

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President Obama has taken unprecedented action to build the foundation for a clean energy economy, tackle the issue of climate change and protect our environment.  The maritime industry understands and embraces this thinking not only because it makes sense, but also as it will be essential to future viability of marine transportation.   The industry continues to take a leading role in environmental responsibility and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is helping them chart the course.

With two recently released reports examining storage and bunkering options for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and providing vital data on natural gas emissions, MARAD’s Office of Environment and Safety is providing information the industry needs to transition to cleaner burning fuels. And by identifying potential challenges and recommending best practices and new standards, MARAD is working to streamline the development of a transportation network that supports the integration of natural gas as a marine fuel.

Yesterday, we took another step forward with approval of a $324.6 million Title XI loan guarantee to TOTE Shipholdings, Inc., a 2014 White House Transportation Champion of Change, to finance construction of two container ships that will use LNG as propulsion fuel...

Continue Reading With DOT support, maritime ››
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When we talk about DOT's TIGER program, we often use the word, "transformative." Because the projects that we have selected for these grants since the program's beginning in 2009 have been projects that make a significant difference to their communities.

And this past weekend in Tulsa, I saw a terrific demonstration of TIGER's transformative power in not one --but two-- grrrrrreat! projects, the I-244 Bridges and the Riverside Drive-Gathering Place Multimodal Access Project...

Photo of Victor Mendez in Tulsa
Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez speaking at ribbon-cutting for I-244 Eastbound Bridge; photos by Stephen Pingry, Tulsa World.
Continue Reading DOT's TIGER, ››
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Today, I’m pleased to announce the sixth round of DOT’s TIGER program. We’re making nearly $600 million in grants and awarding them to 72 transportation projects across 46 states and in DC.

Over the last six years, we’ve awarded more than $4 billion in these TIGER grants, but this round of investment is probably the most crucial ever...

Map of U.S. showing locations of TIGER projects

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We all know the “road to prosperity” is a metaphor, but what if it were an actual road?

The fact is, investing in transportation creates value, and that means it’s a worthwhile investment—for public funds, yes, but also for the private sector. So, with public investments in our nation’s important transportation assets steadily declining, we need to find better ways to partner with private investors to help rebuild America...

Photo of backed up traffic on Tappan Zee Bridge

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Last week, I traveled to Pittsburgh to participate at this year’s North American Inspectors Championships (NAIC) and the National Truck Driving Championships hosted respectively by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the American Trucking Associations.

Earlier in the week, FMCSA Chief Safety Officer and Assistant Administrator Jack Van Steenburg kicked off the competition by recognizing the contestants’ contributions to safety and the agency’s appreciation for their professionalism.

In 2012 alone, truck and bus safety inspectors conducted 3.5 million roadside inspections all across the United States. These highly trained safety professionals are the backbone of our nation’s commercial motor vehicle safety program.  Their hard work and dedication helps ensure that drivers and companies operate safely and that those that don’t are removed from the road.

 
Continue Reading ‘Best of the Best’ ››
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Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of industry professionals at the Finished Vehicle Logistics Conference, where the theme of the discussion was the import and export of new cars.

I’m sure you’re wondering what vehicle logistics has to do with the Maritime Administration. And that’s a very good question. 

My role at this conference highlighted the critical —yet often overlooked— fact that maritime moves America.

Continue Reading As exports rise, Maritime ››
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Over the past week I've had the pleasure to be joined by Congressional leaders from two different states for tours of two very different --but equally impressive-- rail sites. The Amtrak maintenance site in New Jersey and the B&P Tunnel in Maryland are good demonstrations that America's railways need predictable, dedicated funding.

Continue Reading For a strong future, rail ››
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Innovation was the hallmark of former Federal Highway Administrator --now Deputy U.S. Transportation Secretary-- Victor Mendez's tenure here at FHWA. And it's no secret that Transportation Secretary Foxx has made it a top priority across DOT as well. Getting safer, more durable projects from idea to reality faster and at less cost just makes sense all around, and it's a key part of GROW AMERICA, the legislative proposal Secretary Foxx sent to Congress last spring.

In July, I saw firsthand the benefits of Pennsylvania's focus on highway innovation when I traveled to the Keystone State to see how state transportation officials are building a culture of innovation into their work. I left from my visit impressed at what the State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) has achieved...

Photo of road construction in Lackawanna County

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In case you haven't registered yet, Secretary Foxx is hosting a virtual National Town Hall discussion today. Here at DOT, we're pretty excited about it.

The Secretary wants to explain why we need a long-term transportation bill, how it would improve the transportation you rely on, and what you can do to help make it happen. And, he wants to hear from you, too.

After all, we can't do this alone...

Photo of Secretary Foxx

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