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Today, I was proud to join President Donald J. Trump and hundreds of infrastructure workers and stakeholders in the closing event of “Infrastructure Week” at USDOT Headquarters in Washington.

It was a real honor to hear the President outline the Administration’s vision for improving America’s roads, railways, and other infrastructure projects.  We are so fortunate because this President is a builder who understands the challenges facing our country’s infrastructure better than any national leader in recent memory.

I am pleased to announce today that USDOT has published a Federal Register notice seeking public input on ways to identify and reduce unnecessary regulatory obstacles that too often stand in the way of completing important infrastructure projects across the nation.

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Secretary Elaine L. Chao was in Detroit to address the 25th Enhanced Safety of Vehicles Conference Monday. ESV is a biannual international conference that brings together experts to discuss emerging safety technologies. In the city where Henry Ford first revolutionized the automobile, Secretary Chao and the automotive industry are focused on the next great advances in vehicle safety and, in particular, the benefits of automated vehicle systems.

ESV  2017 Conference Logo

ESV is addressing a wide array of vehicle safety technologies—everything from occupant protection and biomechanics, to electronic cybersecurity and advanced crash avoidance systems. That’s important because, after decades of declines, motor vehicle fatalities are again on the rise. In the United States alone, 35,092 people lost their lives on the highways in 2015—an increase of more than 7 percent above the previous year.

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Since 2008, the National Pipeline Mapping System’s Public Viewer – a web-based geographic information system (GIS) – has enabled the public to view layered maps of hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines in a given area.

With PHMSA’s new NPMS Public Viewer app for iOS, users may now generate pipeline maps anytime, anywhere – with a smartphone.

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It’s no secret that safety is one of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) top priorities. At the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), one of our top safety initiatives is the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC is a communication-based system designed to prevent train-to train collisions, over-speed derailments, intrusion into established work zones, and trains routed to the wrong tracks due to a switch error. Here’s how it works: Let’s say a train operator fails to react to a potentially catastrophic situation, like a train-to-train collision. PTC systems will automatically detect the impending collision and take appropriate action to safely stop the train.

Because of USDOT’s commitment to safety, specifically the railroad industry in this case, the FRA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are pleased to announce the PTC grantees selected to receive $197 million in funding.

Twenty-seven applications, totaling $455 million, were submitted to FRA requesting funding to help commuter and intercity passenger railroads meet the December 2018 PTC implementation deadline. Of those 27 applications, FRA identified 17 projects to receive the funds. The FTA will award and administer the funds during fiscal year 2017. In 2016, a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) was issued and made $197.01 million available for grants; $2 million was reserved for program oversight.

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Autonomous vehicle technologies have captured America’s imagination. The reason is simple: their potential to reduce and even eliminate the devastating loss of life to road deaths worldwide.

According to World Health Organization, motor vehicle-related crashes killed 1.3 million people in 2015. In the United States alone, we lost 35,092 people to road deaths in 2015—a spike of more than 7 percent above the previous year.

Autonomous Vehicles on road

With 94 percent of fatal vehicle crashes attributable to human error, the potential of autonomous vehicle technologies to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads urges us to action.

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American air travelers want – and deserve – the best airport facilities in the world. For decades, federal support has been a key factor in improving the safety and efficiency of our nation’s airports and making sure they remain a vital contributor to the nation’s transportation system.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now continuing that critical financial contribution with grants to 584 airports totaling $527.8 million. The FAA’s airport grant program provides more than $3 billion in annual funding for projects needed to maintain the safety, security, capacity, and efficiency of the nation’s airports.

FAA's AIP Program cover page

The funding comes from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which funds various projects, including runways, taxiways, aprons, perimeter fencing, and airport signage, lighting, and marking. More than 3,300 airports are eligible for AIP grants that will benefit commercial passengers, cargo operations, and general aviation activities throughout the nation.

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Are you planning to hire a moving company this Summer? If so, here’s an important tip to get your move started right.

Ask your mover or broker for their U.S. DOT number.

ProtectYourMove.gov Graphic

Federal regulations require every interstate moving company to post their DOT number on their website in a prominent location. The number often appears at the bottom of the homepage.

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A Special Message From Secretary Elaine L. Chao

On this Memorial Day, we pay tribute to our veterans and to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country free.

This Saturday, I was honored to participate in a wreath laying at the Lt.  B. R. Kimlau American Legion Post 1291 in New York.  The outpouring of love, pride and remembrance from the veterans and their families made the occasion so touching and special. 

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It’s that time of year—time to hit the roads with friends and family and head out for that long-awaited summer vacation. Before you hop in the car for the long trek, take the time to review our summer travel safety tips. With a little prevention and planning up front, you’ll stay safer and likely save yourself the cost of an unexpected repair. 

Before You Leave

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When it comes to the American infrastructure, the nation’s small shipyards are leading the way and currently producing some of the most modern and innovative vessels in the world. Many of these shipyards are family owned, with long histories that date back to a time when shipping products actually meant using “ships.” These companies provide quality jobs and support economic growth in cities both large and small, and have been a steadfast foundation in our communities since the founding of the nation.

Many of them will soon benefit from $9.8 million in funding now available through the Maritime Administration (MARAD) Small Shipyard Grant Program.  Grants are provided to small shipyards employing less than 1200 workers to foster efficiency, competitive operations, and quality ship construction, repair, and reconfiguration across the United States. The program also seeks to promote projects that would be effective in fostering employee skills and enhancing productivity in communities whose economies are related to or dependent upon the maritime industry.

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