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Though we’ve all seen constant coverage of the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, it is still shocking to actually be on site and see the devastation.  On Thursday, I accompanied Vice President Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, and other cabinet members (Secretary of Energy Rick Perry; Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin; Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta; Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke) to the region. Air Force 2 landed in Corpus Christi (2 hours and 45 minutes from Houston — the closest we could get) where we were met by Governor and Mrs. Greg Abbott. Governor Abbott is providing strong leadership. We drove to Rockport and took an Osprey helicopter to Victoria – two of the communities severely impacted when Hurricane Harvey made landfall last Saturday.

Destruction from Hurricane Harvey

Continue Reading Hurricane Harvey: Moving ››
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Deadhorse, Alaska – 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle – is about as far outside the DC Beltway as you can be, in every respect, and still be in the United States. Deadhorse’s semi-arid tundra, 10:00 p.m. sunsets and astounding array of wildlife that I’m told exists in the adjacent area (including caribou, polar bears and musk oxen) were the backdrop for an interesting and informative visit last week to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) at Prudhoe Bay. 

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, former USDOT Deputy Secretary Vice Admiral Tom Barrett, and PHMSA’s Acting Regional Director Kim West accompanied me to TAPS Pump Station 1 and Milepost 0. 

Continue Reading Milepost 0 – Deadhorse, ››
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I was just in Omaha - the site of the largest stretch of the solar eclipse “path of totality” that gripped the nation’s attention from coast-to-coast last Monday - to participate in a roundtable discussion with transportation and construction leaders in Nebraska.  We held a broad-ranging and informative discussion that was made possible by U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, who has been a tireless advocate for transportation needs in her state. 

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (left) with Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer in Omaha. Photo courtesy of Senator Fischer’s office
Continue Reading Sharing Ideas on America’s ››
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Dangerous high wind conditions can be a major cause of highway crashes and trucks blowing over, putting lives at risk and, in the case of places such as Wyoming, jeopardizing America’s freight.

Continue Reading Connecting Vehicles and ››
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Today, millions of Americans coast-to-coast will give the sun more than the usual attention as we await and (hopefully safely) witness the solar eclipse. Those in the 70-mile wide “path of totality” will have what is reputed to be a particularly extraordinary, awe-inspiring experience. In Washington, viewers will see an 81% eclipse at 2:42 p.m.


Photo of moon eclipsing sun

Continue Reading The 2017 Solar Eclipse ››
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As summertime comes to an end, keep in mind safe driving habits as you head out to Labor Day holiday parties. It’s always essential, no matter where you are driving or how long, to remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Continue Reading Don't let drunk ››
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For every pilot, safety is paramount. But we all know mistakes can happen; we’re only human.  I don’t know many drivers who have never received a traffic ticket, or never had a fender bender, but I do know several pilots who happen to have a perfect safety record in the sky – and they’ve been doing it that way for the past fifty years.

The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is the most prestigious recognition the FAA issues to general aviation pilots. This award is named after the first pilots, Orville and Wilbur Wright, and goes beyond “just” 50 years of safe flying.

Continue Reading Perfect Pilots ››
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Nearly 18.1 billion tons of goods worth about $19.2 trillion moved on our nation’s transportation network in 2015, based on the current Freight Analysis Framework 4 (FAF4) estimates. On a daily basis, 49 million tons of goods valued at more than $53 billion are shipped throughout the country on all transportation modes. Trucks are by far the single most-used mode to move freight around the country, moving 63 percent of the tonnage in 2015 and 68 percent of the value.

Continue Reading Freight Shipments Projected ››
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With more than 3,000 residents per square mile, Tampa is Florida’s second-most densely populated city.[1] With no passenger rail system and limited bicycle and pedestrian amenities, the city is heavily car-centric and regularly experiences substantial traffic. To make matters more complicated, the main commuter route into and out of downtown Tampa is the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, which has reversible lanes that change direction depending on the time of day. Because the lanes are reversible, wrong-way entry is possible leading to many rear-end crashes and red-light-running collisions.

Continue Reading Connected Vehicle Pilot ››
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At the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), we’re always looking for ways to spur innovation in public transportation. As you read this, transit systems around the country are implementing new ideas and options to make bus, rail, and even on-demand services work better for their customers.

You may have already heard the term Internet of Things, or IoT. In short, the Internet of Things is the revolution of having Internet-connected devices like smartphones integrated into our everyday lives. (You can read a lot more about IoT in FTA’s Report to Congress on the subject!)

Continue Reading How the Internet of Things ››
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