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Cross-posted courtesy of MDOT: you can find the original post at http://ow.ly/MBEPB.

MDOTBiloxi, Miss. – The havoc unleashed by Hurricane Katrina was unlike anything the Mississippi Gulf Coast had ever seen. Bridges destroyed. Communities cut off from each other. Lives changed forever.

With so many communities along the Coast cut off from each other, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) recognized the need to quickly identify and provide solutions that would reconnect the people of South Mississippi.

“The response to Katrina’s devastation included more than the repair and replacement of critical roads and bridge infrastructure,” said Transportation Commissioner Tom King. “Residents of the region also needed access to local transportation options that connected them to destinations such as work, health care and disaster assistance centers.”

These options included public, as well as emergency response, shuttle and specialized transit services that not only met immediate needs, but also could be part of the ongoing process of rebuilding the Gulf Coast...

MDOT4

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Sacramento is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the state of California. According to the U.S. Census, the population of California’s capital region grew 4.5 percent between April 2010 and July 2014. Among counties with the largest number of workers, Sacramento also boasts the highest rate of job growth between 2012 and 2013 (up 5.5 percent to 428,475). And while the capital region deservedly celebrates its growth, regional leaders know that more residents and more commuters mean more congestion.

Fortunately, the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) has been working hard to accommodate the increasing number of travelers in the area.  And earlier this week, I joined Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Sacramento RT, state, and local officials to celebrate the opening of Sacramento’s Blue Line light rail extension from Meadowview Road to Cosumnes River College (CRC). This new service will significantly improve transit options for residents traveling between downtown Sacramento and the growing South Sacramento corridor...

Sacramento celebrates Blue LIne extension

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Earlier this month, a post here in the Fast Lane detailed how DOT helps States and local communities improve resilience in America’s transportation system, and how we can further protect our highways, bridges, and transit systems from the effects of climate change and other weather related conditions.  Like these other modes of transportation, our nation's pipelines are affected by adverse weather conditions, including hurricanes, floods, and drought. 

When these conditions contribute to a pipeline failure, they’re recorded as natural force damage events, which also include high winds, earthquakes, temperature changes, lightning, and severe weather events. Between 2005 and 2014, pipeline failures caused by natural force damage events resulted in property damages totaling $1,601,313,884. 

While we want the public to be mindful of the effects naturally occurring events can have on the pipelines connecting our communities, vigilance almost always begins with pipeline operators...

Kinder Morgan pipeline exposure during 2005 California flooding

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On March 5, 2009, Jason Rivenburg –a 35 year-old truck driver from upstate New York– pulled his truck off the highway to rest at an abandoned gas station. The next day, his body was discovered in the cab of his truck; he'd been gunned down for the seven dollars in his pocket. Thirteen days after his murder, Jason’s wife, Hope, gave birth to twins who will never know their father. 

Jason didn't decide to rest at an abandoned gas station because of preference –he had little choice.  Because he was ahead of schedule, the distribution center where he would unload his freight wasn't available to him, and there simply weren’t any safe places for Jason to wait.  This is the dilemma many truckers face every day.

We have nearly six million commercial motor vehicle drivers out on our roads each day –a number expected to increase dramatically by 2045 and the safety of everyone on our roadways demands that drivers pull off the highway and rest periodically.  That means safe truck parking is a necessity.  And that’s why, last week, I was honored to join Hope Rivenburg in announcing the National Coalition on Truck Parking, a call to action for a national dialogue on trucking needs and strategies for immediate, near-term and long-term solutions...

Hope Rivenburg at coalition announcement

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At the Federal Transit Administration, one of our top priorities is making sure that public transit helps connect people to the places they really need to go –not just physical places, but places in life.

That’s why I was proud to join Secretary Foxx earlier today at Los Angeles Trade – Technical College to announce the project selections from FTA’s Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Grant program. We awarded grants to a diverse array of 19 projects in 13 states that will work toward building the transit workforce of the future.

At L.A. Trade-Tech

We know that transit is already a leader in employing people from all walks of life. But we also know there is more that can be done to make transit jobs even more inclusive.

That’s why, in the spirit of the Secretary Foxx’s department-wide Ladders of Opportunity initiative, our workforce grant selections emphasize projects that connect disadvantaged individuals to careers in transit. These programs will target traditionally underserved communities such as women, minorities, our returning veterans, people with low-incomes, and the long-term unemployed...

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In communities across the country, America's kids are waking up to a new year of school. Some of them might be excited for a new year of learning, and some might be disappointed that summer vacation is over. But whether your kids are enthusiastic or reluctant, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to help your students get to school safely when they take the bus, ride their bikes, or walk.

From 2004 to 2013, 327 school-age children (18 and under) were killed in motor vehicle crashes when traveling to and from school.

No matter how your child gets to school —on the big yellow bus, on a bike, on foot, or in a carpool— we can do more to keep our kids safe. It begins with educating them about how to be safe on the road and particularly in and around school buses...

School bus safety

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The U.S. Departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor kicked off the week with some good news today, releasing a joint report, “Strengthening Skills Training and Career Pathways across the Transportation Industry.”

The new report details future employment hot spots in transportation by industry subsectors, occupations, career areas, and geographic areas.  It also identifies good-paying, high-demand transportation jobs and analyzes patterns in the education and work experience required for entry --as well as on-the-job training requirements to help new entrants gain greater competency.

The report concludes that there will be more job opportunities in the near future due to expected growth, retirements, and turnover in the transportation industry. But those opportunities won't fill themselves. Employers will need to hire and train a total of 4.6 million new workers; that's 1.2 times the current transportation workforce. 

As U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said, "Industry and government must increase recruitment and help young people get the skills, training, and apprenticeships they need to gain entry into these careers.”  

Transit work on M.T.A. number 7 line

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This month, Richard Devylder, a disability rights activist and former Senior Advisor for Accessible Transportation here at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), passed away at the age of 46.

Richard was an ardent proponent for increased transportation accessibility.  He was born without arms or legs and grew up in a world largely devoid of accommodation for those like him.  Not one to be limited, Richard was quick to find ways to realize his own independence.  By the age of two he was turning book pages on his own.

Richard Devylder disability rights activist and former Senior Advisor for Accessible Transportation

What Richard might be most remembered for, besides his friendly forehead bumps and relentless optimism, is how well he understood the connection between transportation and an independent lifestyle, which drove his life’s work of transportation advocacy. 

“Public transportation was number one for me to graduate from college and for me to be able to live independently.” Richard was quoted as saying in 2010. “I always say, the number one thing that can make us independent to the fullest is transportation.  [Without it] we can’t go to school, we can’t get to work, and we can’t live independently.”

Richard first started his work in California, and his passion for disability rights quickly accelerated his career, working in the California Governor’s Office, and assuming the position of deputy director of the California Department of Rehabi

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Summer night seem to be passing quickly, but there's still time to enjoy picturesque areas on some of America’s most important roads. The National Park System remains the envy of the world, and its majestic scenery and bountiful wildlife offer visitors a respite from modern life. But its roads, sometimes called “parkways,” remain some of the most underappreciated.

Acadia National Park Loop Road

Our Office of Federal Lands Highway (FLH) works with Federal agencies like the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management to maintain those roads and improve transportation through federally-owned lands.

While interstates, state highways, and city and county roads make up the lion’s share of public roads, America's National Park roads are a sentimental favorite of mine. With so many scenic roads accessible to the public, it's difficult for many people to choose a favorite.

Continue Reading Summer Park Roads, Summer ››
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