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Without traffic cones or construction crews snarling traffic, it can be easy to forget the vast network of pipelines, spanning hundreds of thousands of miles across the country, transporting the oil that heats our homes and gasoline that fuels our cars. pipeline maintenanceHistorically, managing the health of pipelines was mostly reactive; only physical appearances, like major deformations and stresses, provided hints to potential fractures or warping.

In 2011, Houston-based Generation 2 Materials Technology, LLC (G2MT) produced an industry first with the release of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)-funded non-destructive pipeline stress analysis sensor. These sensors are able to determine the through-thickness residual stresses of materials that are built to withstand pressure, which can reveal pipeline stressors before they are visible -and before they cause damage.

Administered by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, the SBIR program helps entrepreneurs develop new and innovative solutions to complex transportation challenges, calling on the power of small businesses to help solve DOT’s most pressing needs...

Continue Reading SBIR-Funded Sensors Detect ››
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This past year, which saw the passage of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, has been momentous for the nation’s surface transportation system. And nowhere is this more than true than here in Phoenix, Arizona.

From securing a critical Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, to the passage of a plan to triple the city’s light rail system, to our participation in LadderSTEP, Phoenix achieved major transportation milestones in 2015 that will keep us moving forward in 2016 and beyond.

Light Rail map Phoenix

Continue Reading DOT LadderSTEP gives South ››
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This week, we commemorate the seventh anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), which the President signed into law on February 17, 2009.   Today and tomorrow the Vice President will visit New Orleans, Memphis, and St. Paul to highlight the Recovery Act’s role in restarting job growth and revitalizing our transportation system. You can read more about the Vice President's trip on Medium.

The Recovery Act provided over $48 billion in job-creating investments in transportation infrastructure, which put people back to work and comprised a significant down payment toward revitalizing our transportation system.

Recovery Act projects improved the Nation’s roads and bridges; led to expanded and safer public transit options; made a significant down-payment in American high-speed  rail; invested in runways, airports, and Air Traffic Control upgrades; supported game-changing investments through the innovative, multi-modal TIGER program; and assisted capital and infrastructure improvements at small shipyards...

Prsident Obama signs ARRA
President Obama signs Recovery Act; official White House photo.
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Like many mid-sized cities in America, Baton Rouge struggles to establish a robust public transportation system.  The result of our dependence on private autos is a clogged road network that consistently ranks us as one of the worst congested cities in the United States.  Two years ago our community, to the surprise of many, voted to fund our bus system through a property tax.  Since that time, little has changed with regard to attracting riders.

But today, we are on the threshold of great change thanks to the understanding and commitment of Secretary Foxx to help local governments address outdated transit systems. With the benefit of a DOT TIGER grant, Baton Rouge has begun planning its first modern streetcar system.  When completed, this 3-mile route will connect the state’s largest University to our State Capitol located just north of downtown. 

In addition to the TIGER grant, Secretary Foxx also selected Baton Rouge as one of seven cities to participate in the Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Pilot, or LadderSTEP.  He came to our city and talked with us about how we can better address the transportation needs of our region. He provided technical assistance and additional resources to Baton Rouge through DOT with the goal of reconnecting an historic neighborhood --Old South Baton Rouge-- to opportunity...

Rendering of River District in Old South Baton Rouge

Continue Reading TIGER grant, LadderSTEP ››
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Today marks an exciting day for anyone who’s been curious about travel to Cuba. 

This morning in Havana, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin, Cuban Minister of Transportation Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez and President of the Cuban Civil Aviation Institute (IACC), Ministry of Transportation Colonel Alfredo Cordero Puig formally signed an arrangement --reached in December-- that provides for re-establishing scheduled air services between the United States and Cuba for the first time in more than half a century.  This arrangement represents a major step forward in President Obama’s policy of engagement with Cuba. 

The new arrangement means that U.S. carriers will have the opportunity to operate up to 20 daily roundtrip flights between the United States and Havana and up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the United States and each of Cuba’s nine other international airports, for a total of up to 110 daily roundtrip flights.  In addition, there are no changes to charter flights...

Infographic on Cuba air travel

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I represent those who write "Baltimore, Maryland," as their address. And when making decisions for the city, I must keep in mind over 600,000 people --a daunting burden to some. So, you can imagine my excitement when we had the chance to partner with DOT’s Transportation Empowerment Pilot Program, LadderSTEP to ensure those same 600,000 men, women, and children have transportation access...no matter their neighborhood. 

If you're not familiar with Baltimore, you might not know that by building US 40 right through several neighborhoods, planners physically divided communities and all but isolated them in every way from the city's commercial, cultural, and educational opportunities.

Now, more than 50 years later, Re-Connect West Baltimore is a $4 million project expected to begin this spring. We are doing this and more to finally create a vibrant, safe passage across US 40...

West Baltimore isolated by US 40

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One of our most important jobs at the Federal Aviation Administration is ensuring that all aircraft operators can safely use our nation's airspace. Our efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft have grabbed the majority of the headlines for the last few months, but we also have a long history of working with another innovative sector in aviation – the commercial space industry.

Commercial space includes activities like launching satellites, delivering cargo to the International Space Station, and in the future, space tourism. And as the industry continues to grow and change, the FAA’s approach is evolving as well.

And it is growing. More than 250 people attended the 19th Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference last week, including representatives from a number of commercial space companies as well as officials from NASA and other government agencies. All were buzzing about the industry’s tremendous growth.

But the story is bigger than growth; a rush of innovation is changing what's possible in commercial space...

Space-X lands its Falcon 9
This is not a rocket launch; it's a Space-X Falcon 9 rocket LANDING.
Continue Reading As Commercial Space Takes ››
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One of America’s biggest transportation challenges over the next 30 years will be our growing population. With 70 Million more people being added by 2045, we’ll have more people moving between home and work, and more freight sharing our roads.

One of the best tools we have for combatting the resulting traffic congestion is the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program. Through its New Starts, Small Starts, and Core Capacity grants, the CIG program helps build subways, light rail, streetcars, and Bus Rapid Transit lines that move more people more efficiently while helping preserve clean air and improve quality of life. Just as importantly, those projects build real ladders of opportunity in communities across the country – bringing jobs, education, healthcare, and shopping within reach.

This year in President Obama’s proposed FY 2017 budget, we’re recommending 31 projects in 18 states to share in $3.5 billion that will help expand mobility, create jobs, and spur economic development...

BRT in Cleveland

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Like my fellow Mayors across the country, my job as is often all about infrastructure. I work most days to keep our vital systems and services operating smoothly. This includes finding additional resources to make important and urgent investments in our infrastructure.

Over the past two years, transportation and transit infrastructure have been top priorities. Opening the new Atlanta Streetcar, expanding the Atlanta BeltLine, passing the $250 million Renew Atlanta infrastructure bond, and pushing forward on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive streetscape improvement project - these projects can transform the city of Atlanta one neighborhood at a time.

As a former mayor, Secretary Foxx understands that this requires federal support and technical assistance at the local level, and that is exactly what his Transportation Empowerment Pilot, LaddersTEP, is. He has recognized that improving local infrastructure translates to the kind of economic growth that doesn’t leave anyone behind...

Secretary Foxx with Mayor Kasim Reed

Continue Reading Atlanta welcomes DOT ››
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Under President Obama’s leadership, we have turned our economy around and created 14 million jobs. Our unemployment rate is below five percent for the first time in almost eight years. Nearly 18 million people have gained health coverage as the Affordable Care Act has taken effect. And we have dramatically cut our deficits by almost three-quarters and set our Nation on a more sustainable fiscal path.

Yet while it is important to take stock of our progress, the budget proposal the White House released today is not about looking back at the road we have traveled. It's about looking forward and making sure our economy works for everybody. It's about choosing investments that not only make us stronger today, but also reflect the kind of country we aspire to be – the kind of country we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren.

Cover of F.Y. 2017 Budget Highlights book

The $98.1 billion the President is requesting for DOT in Fiscal Year 2017 reflects an ambitious 30-year vision for this Department to take the United States Beyond Traffic and toward a transportation network that matches the changing geography of where people live and work; fosters innovation and takes advantage of evolving technology; and provides access to opportunity without regard to zip code or any other demographic...

Continue Reading $98.1 billion Budget ››
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