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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?
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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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Yesterday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) formally introduced its new train cars at Metro's National Airport station.

The new "7000 Series" cars --made right here in the U.S.-- were not there to pick up passengers (that happens today!). WMATA had the new cars on hand to showcase their next generation features, many of which were designed with the input of WMATA customers and train operators.

The 7000 Series will provide a safer, more reliable ride for millions of passengers and help WMATA expand the Metrorail system’s capacity. That’s why the Federal Transit Administration has contributed more than $100 million to support this important upgrade...

Deputy Secretary Mendez with FTA Administrator McMillan

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When we talk about "breaking ground," at the Federal Highway Administration, we're not just talking about moving some dirt. We're almost always also talking about moving people and freight where they need to go faster and more safely than before. And that was the story last week at the groundbreaking for the Boulder City Bypass in Nevada. 

The Bypass is an outstanding project that will help achieve three key DOT goals –enhanced safety, less congestion and more efficient movement of freight. We're also proud to support the Bypass because it will help bring Nevadans and Arizonans one step closer to the key regional goal of an eventual Interstate link between Las Vegas and Phoenix...

Greg Nadeau at Boulder City Bypass groundbreaking

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Fast Lane readers have been able to read some updates from my visit to India this week. To catch up, you can read my posts about our aviation announcement and the Memorandum of Cooperation I signed.

Or, you can simply read this recap.

President Obama traveled to India in January, and Prime Minister Modi visited the United States last fall. During these trips, our countries came closer together to tackle some of the big challenges all nations will face as the young 21st century gets old older. This includes building “smart cities” that are ready for population growth and a more volatile climate, and that provide high-quality public transportation systems that connect citizens to opportunities.

This week, I was proud to continue that dialogue, particularly when it comes to transportation.

Secretary Foxx meeting with India Aviation Minister Raju

In New Delhi, I met with key transportation officials heading ministries for nearly every mode of transportation, including the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Civil Aviation, and the Ministry of Heavy Industries. I also toured IBM’s Smart Cities lab. And in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, I met with private sector leaders and saw India’s transportation innovation firsthand.

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Broadway in New York City is one of the most famous streets in America, but not so long ago, it was famous to New Yorkers mostly for congestion. The street cuts diagonally across the island of Manhattan, slicing through Midtown and connecting iconic locations like Times Square and Herald Square. But the complex intersections created by its angled path made it hard to get people and vehicles through Midtown, and at places like Times Square, Broadway was a mass of honking cars and crowded sidewalks that didn’t serve any users, in cars or on foot, well.

Earlier this week, New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and her staff showed me how New York has dramatically transformed Broadway. The “Greenlight for Midtown” project, launched in 2009, started with what might have seemed a counter-intuitive notion: To improve traffic on Broadway, let’s close the street to cars. Two stretches of Broadway, from 42nd to 47th streets and 33rd to 35th, were turned into pedestrian plazas. Traffic signal timing was adjusted, new bicycle lanes and a parking facility went in. In 2010, the city decided to make the changes permanent. Today, construction crews are finishing necessary work at street level and below. The city funded the project with assistance from the federal Department of Transportation.

NHTSA Administrator Rosekind in Times Square
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, and Deputy Commissioner Ryan Russo discussing pedestrian safety in Times Square.

Of course, at NHTSA, our focus is safety, and for safety, the gains have been remarkable. In the three years after the change, total crashes in the affected area fell by 15 percent. Pedestrian injuries fell by 24 percent. Injuries for all users – motorists, pedestrians and cyclists – are down by 33 percent in Times Square and 26 percent in Herald Square.

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Today, with the swoop of two pens, India and America took a bold step towards a future where all forms of transportation – roads, rails, ports, airports – work together seamlessly.

This morning, I signed a Memorandum of Cooperation – or MOC – with India’s Minister of Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari. The Minister signed on behalf of three other ministries, and the memorandum outlines ways all of those agencies cooperate to strengthen India’s transportation system.

 US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and India’s Minister of Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping Nitin Gadkari sign MOC

Both India and America face shared challenges when it comes to the future of transportation: more people to move; more freight to carry; a climate where bigger, deadlier storms occur more often. And while we do not yet know exactly HOW we can overcome all these challenges, we understand that any solution must be guided by the same general principle: multi-modalism.

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It’s in everyone’s best interest for us to have a great transportation system. It’s how we get around, and how our goods get from place to place.

Yet our transportation infrastructure is in very poor shape. More than half of our roads are rated in less than good condition, a quarter of our bridges languish in the same category, and public transportation is falling behind. The last time the Federal Transit Administration tallied up the backlog in transit repairs and maintenance, it came to over $86 billion. And it’s growing.

Many people long for more and better public transit options to get to work, school or the doctor, while those fortunate enough to have transit access can all relate stories about service disruptions. That’s to say nothing about future transit users. In the next 30 years, the U.S. will be home to 70 million more people. To keep America moving, we will need a strong, reliable public transit system.

FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillian at stand up for transportation press conference

I was invited, along with federal, state and local officials, to attend today’s Stand Up for Transportation rally in Philadelphia to talk about some of these challenges and potential solutions. SU4T rallies were held in dozens of cities across America in a daylong show of support for transportation. We spoke before hundreds of transportation supporters and interested citizens who stood up outside historic City Hall at Dilworth Park, a public square and transit center renovated partially with DOT funds, to demonstrate their commitment to our efforts to climb out of our infrastructure hole.

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