I’m pretty excited about the productive week we've had here at DOT, and I'd like to share that sense of achievement and --more importantly-- promise with Fast Lane readers.
On Monday, we jumped out of the gate by sending a revamped GROW AMERICA Act to Congress. GROW is our legislative proposal for surface transportation that provides six years of funding certainty, increased investment in infrastructure, and smart policies that ensure taxpayers get more bang for their buck and that communities can enjoy the benefits of projects sooner. Experts all agree that America's transportation system needs more than a few potholes filled and bridges repaired. But we also need to start getting ahead of the curve like the world leader we have been since George Washington began supervising construction of a canal along the Potomac River. And GROW will help us do that.
In fact, all of this week's highlights point back to the GROW AMERICA Act...
Today, it is my absolute pleasure to announce the availability of $500 million for DOT's 2015 TIGER grants for innovative transportation projects across the country.
Over the past six rounds, funds from our Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program have helped launch projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico --many of which would still be on the drawing board without TIGER. The highly competitive program offers one of the only federal funding possibilities for multi-modal projects that often are not suitable for other federal funding sources.
Like its preceding rounds, this seventh round of TIGER will fund projects that create jobs, foster regional partnerships, advance new technologies, spur economic and community development, and strengthen the transportation infrastructure of this great country...
As Fast Lane readers know, texting offers the benefit of almost instant communication with nearly anyone around the world. But in the time it takes to send or read a text –slightly less than five seconds– a car moving at 55 miles per hour can travel roughly 100 yards. So if you text when behind the wheel, you’re essentially driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed —and possibly causing untold harm to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and yourself.
In 2013 alone, distracted driving claimed 3,154 lives and injured an estimated 424,000. Those deaths and injuries were 100 percent preventable.
That’s why, as part of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we’ve launched our second distracted driving high-visibility enforcement campaign. Thanks to nationwide support from law enforcement agencies, from April 10 to April 15, state and local officers will aggressively ticket drivers who are texting or using their mobile devices when behind the wheel...
After three months of lock upgrades and maintenance, the annual springtime reopening of the St. Lawrence Seaway System to navigation arrives tomorrow.
Here at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation --and at the Seaway's many ports in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota-- we can't wait to see the shipping traffic the 2015 navigation season brings.
And we're not the only ones, either. After all, the freight moving into and out of the U.S. does much more than keep the ports and Seaway employees busy...
I do not know who the Secretary of Transportation will be in the year 2045. But 30 years from now, if that person were to go to Michigan and speak at the Detroit Economic Club –as I did yesterday– he or she might be able to tell the audience:
“Detroit is the new Silicon Valley. You all manufacture a great invention of the 21st century: a car that drives itself. This vehicle has prevented nine out of every ten potential car accidents. No one dies because of drunk driving anymore. And no one has to circle the parking lot again looking for a space. The thing even parks itself, too.”
Of course, our Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices study tells us that autonomous vehicles are just one of the many technologies with the potential to revolutionize our transportation system; we have the chance to build a country where mobility is as cheap and plentiful as fast internet and running water.
And my message to Detroit yesterday was that we can make this vision a reality only if we start thinking about our challenges today...
I have great admiration for the women who are pioneers in their chosen field. In my years at the Department of Transportation, first with the Federal Aviation Administration and now with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, I have seen many women with a vision succeed in getting things done. It's inspiring to see women break barriers and succeed in non-traditional industries, and I am proud to recognize them during Women’s History Month.
I'm also excited about my ride-along with Women In Trucking this week and about having the opportunity to see firsthand how women –vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts– navigate the challenges they face at loading docks, on the roadways, at safety inspection sites, at truck stops, and in the maintenance yard...
FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson (left) preparing to join U.S. Xpress truck driver Angela Jordan, who has been a professional truck driver for 20 years and is approaching 2 million miles of safe driving. Photo courtesy Duane DeBruyne, FMCSA.
In his Presidential Proclamation marking Women's History Month, President Obama reminded us that March will recognize the "countless pioneering women who have called not only for the absence of oppression, but for the presence of opportunity." So it was no coincidence last week that the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) hosted the 7th annual Women on the Water (WOW) Conference in Kings Point, NY.
This three-day event brought together female mariners --from Midshipmen and cadets to captains-- to learn about exciting maritime careers, discuss the transition from academy to industry, and discover a variety of professional development opportunities.
As I delivered the opening remarks and welcomed guests from State Maritime Academies and other maritime organizations across the nation, I was a first-hand witness to the future leaders whose success will honor the women who came before them and widen the path for all who follow...
Today, Congress has one new message in their inbox – and it is marked urgent: A new and improved GROW AMERICA act awaits their review.
America is in the midst of a growth spurt, and the problem is: our roads, rails, and transit systems do not automatically grow along with our country.
Who’s responsible for the safety of our nation’s transit systems? The answer is: everyone who works in the transit industry, from front-line transportation workers to our own Federal Transit Administration (FTA). In fact, if you’ve been following the Fast Lane blog, you probably know that FTA’s official oversight of public transportation safety is relatively new, starting two-and-a-half years ago as part of the law known as MAP-21. It is transit agencies themselves, along with state agencies and trade groups, that pioneered the practices that made public transportation one of the safest ways to travel. So from the very beginning, we knew that any progress we made in establishing our national transit safety oversight authority would have to build on that foundation and rely on their active participation. Together, we’ve been working to make a safe mode of travel safer.
Today, I was pleased to join federal, state, and local officials to celebrate the opening of a state-of-the-art transit system that provides Central Connecticut residents with rapid transport to jobs, schools, and community services. CTfastrak will carry passengers almost 10 miles, between the state’s capitol and surrounding suburbs, opening new connections and ladders of opportunity for both the car-less and those who wish to leave their cars behind. For some, CTfastrak will provide their first convenient access to a full-scale grocery store.
CTfastrak buses run in an exclusive lane, offering fast trips primarily because they won’t compete with cars. The system also features off-site fare collection, level boarding platforms, and even wifi. The electric hybrid buses, which are 90 percent cleaner than standard buses, will work a lot like light rail, but on rubber tires. Outside the window, hikers, bikers, and joggers will enjoy a new multi-use trail.
I was thrilled to join Governor Dannel Malloy, U.S. Representatives John Larson and Elizabeth Esty, and other State and local officials, for the inaugural ride from Hartford to New Britain. Federal transportation sources, including FTA, contributed 80 percent toward the project’s $567 million price tag.