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If you've been reading the Fast Lane this week, then you already know about the Maritime Administration's work to reduce the emissions of waterborne shipping and NHTSA's continued effort to pursue rigorous CAFE standards for both light and heavy vehicles on America's roadways.

For me, Earth Day is a reminder of how proud I am to lead a Federal agency that has as part of its mission reducing the footprint of our transportation system even while we work to make it safer and more efficient...

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Forty-five years ago tomorrow, the world celebrated the very first Earth Day. Borne out of U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin’s call for a day of education about threats to our air, land, water, and public health, Earth Day helped ignite the global environmental movement.

Today, while the environmental challenges have changed, Earth Day is as relevant as ever, particularly in light of the threat of global climate change.

At NHTSA, we’ve taken up President Obama’s call to confront the climate crisis. Working with our partners at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we’ve set fuel efficiency standards for cars, light trucks, and heavy duty vehicles that will greatly reduce transportation-related carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change. We’ve also worked to make healthier and environmentally friendly transportation options, such as biking and walking, more attractive to more Americans by making them safer...

David Friedman addresses crowd at NHTSA Earth Day event

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Every year, car buyers and auto enthusiasts await the release of Detroit's new models. It's an exciting moment to see what some of America's most innovative design and engineering teams can produce. But unlike cars, new models of American-made shipping vessels don't roll out every year.

From idea to service, new ships are usually 20 years in the making. So you can imagine how excited the maritime community is to see what rolled off the NASSCO shipyard line in San Diego this past weekend: the world's first Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) powered container ship.

Isla Bella rolls into water

The launch of this next generation of American-made vessels, commissioned by TOTE Maritime, was financed in part by a $324.6 million Title XI Loan Guarantee from the Maritime Administration (MARAD).  The new 764-foot Isla Bella includes a number of innovative technological advances. The key feature, of course, is that by burning LNG instead of diesel, it will significantly reduce harmful emissions...

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Please note that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also published a blog post today on their site: Crude Oil Transport: Working Together to Protect Public Health and Safety.
 

Since 2013, more than two dozen derailments of trains transporting large quantities of crude oil have occurred, including four this year alone. As DOT pursues a comprehensive rulemaking designed to strengthen tank cars, implement appropriate operational controls, and improve emergency response, we are also taking other actions today that will have an immediate impact on safety.

The boom in crude oil production, and transportation of that crude, poses a serious threat to public safety. The measures we are announcing today are a result of lessons learned from recent accidents and are steps we are able to take today to improve safety. 

Our efforts in partnership with agencies throughout this Administration show that this is more than a transportation issue, and we are not done yet...

Oil train

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This Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of the bombing in Oklahoma City.

While DOT men and women are often called upon to respond to the scene of tragedies that strike our Nation’s transportation system, until then they never expected to find tragedy in their offices. But that is what happened on April 19, 1995, when a terrorist’s bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. 

Among the 168 victims that day were eight employees of the Federal Highway Administration and three from what is now known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration...

Field of empty chairs at OKC National Memorial

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Each and every day, brave men and women are serving around the world in our Nation’s Armed Forces.  They work tirelessly to keep both us and our allies safe and secure while supporting democracy and defending human rights when and where needed.  As Maritime Administrator, I’m proud that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) plays a key role ensuring that waterborne sealift supports our capabilities to globally deploy and sustain our military forces. 

That is why I was so pleased to participate in the Navy League of the 50th Anniversary Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition this week.  This brings together leaders in the transportation, military, and defense industry sectors that support our sea services –U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine— and strengthen America’s ability to respond to crises overseas...

MSP vessel Green Lake

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Two weeks ago, we announced availability of our latest round of TIGER grants.  But our obligation does not end there.  We have a responsibility to ensure that America’s taxpayers get the best possible outcomes, and that means helping interested communities develop the best possible TIGER grant applications.

So today, DOT is gathering at our headquarters more than 250 grantees and potential applicants –with more than 500 viewing online.  At this TIGER Summit, we will discuss the features of successful TIGER applications and projects, guide recipients to better implement TIGER grants, and prepare applicants to navigate the competitive TIGER process.  Later today, we’ll also brief Congressional staff about the value of TIGER.

Transportation photo collage

The Department goes to great lengths to select and invest in the best projects.  But the best projects don’t automatically jump off the page in a grant application...

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Here at the U.S. Department of Transportation, we can’t stress enough about the importance of investing in infrastructure for the future. That includes the safe operations of America’s 2.6 million-mile pipeline network, most of which is buried underground. The unprecedented growth in domestic energy – and increased demand for professionals in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related disciplines – means DOT needs to do its part to help train the highly skilled workforce of our future.

That’s why the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is reaching out to universities for out-of-the-box pipeline transportation solutions and innovations through our Competitive Academic Agreement Program (CAAP).

This year, we are awarding $2 million to students in colleges and universities nationwide – more than twice the amount awarded last year, to continue our efforts to keep up with the technological innovations we are experiencing as a result of the expanding energy sector.  To date, we’ve awarded $1.5 million to nearly 80 students...

Pipeline reasearch grantees
PHMSA 2014 research and development forum in Chicago included a poster session with 2013 recipients.
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Earlier this year, Secretary Foxx unveiled a forward-looking vision of what a better transportation system for the nation looks like, and began a dialogue of how to build it. Among other items, Beyond Traffic highlights the increased activity of bicyclists and pedestrians on and near America’s roads.

So, as part of the Safer People, Safer Streets initiative, the Secretary has challenged local elected officials to take significant action to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. More than 200 cities have committed to the “Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets.”

One of the focus activities of the Mayors’ Challenge is to collect more --and better-- data on pedestrian and bicycle activity to support planning and investment decisions as well as targeted safety improvements, and the Federal Highway Administration is ready to help...

Manual counting
Can we do better than manual counting?
Continue Reading When it comes to Bike-Ped ››
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Every day, American companies ship cargo worth more than $5.5 billion through U.S. ports. That activity supports over 13 million American jobs nationwide. So it’s no secret that America’s ports keep America economically strong.

Since 1926, the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, has been doing just that, and they're ready to do even more. 

Last week, I was at the port to help celebrate completion of the first phase of a planned railyard expansion. Fundedby a $10 million DOT TIGER grant and a public-private partnership, the expanded railyard will help the Port of Corpus Christi add capacity to meet growing demand, and it will improve the efficiency of existing cargo movement at the port. It will also take more than 600,000 trucks off the road, significantly reducing emissions in the area...

Opening of the Nueces River Railyard

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