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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

Continue Reading Proposed budget helps move ››
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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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When a State develops a project that promises to improve safety, ease congestion, and remove bottlenecks to speed the flow of freight, that's the kind of plan the Federal Highway Administration is proud to support.

The U.S. 301 Mainline in Delaware, which broke ground yesterday, is that kind of project.

Not only will the new U.S. 301 create jobs for the men and women building the route, but when finished, it will also help people keep their jobs at companies that can cut shipping costs. And for the commercial truck drivers struggling to get between Delaware and Virginia, it will help them do their jobs better. 

Continue Reading Innovative DOT financing ››
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Fifty years ago – just two years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act was enacted – President Johnson signed the act creating the US Department of Transportation. The two events might seem unconnected, but they are inextricably linked.

Transportation has always been a civil rights issue. Throughout our history, the transportation and civil rights have been intertwined…for good and bad. Just look at three seminal moments in the long spectrum of the fight for civil rights: Plessy v. Ferguson, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the Freedom Rides. They all centered on the ability of all people to have equal access to transportation because you cannot exercise your full rights as a citizen or develop your full potential if you cannot move freely.

But while we eventually desegregated the buses and trains, we didn’t do as good a job at making our transportation systems and decision-making truly inclusive. That’s much harder work...

St Louis transit

Continue Reading DOT plants a flag for ››
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The news is out: 77 cities from Reno to Rochester and Anchorage to Albuquerque have submitted applications for DOT's first-of-its-kind Smart City Challenge.

If you don't know about our Challenge, we asked mid-size US cities to send us their plan for using data, technology, and creativity to shape how people and goods move. The winning city will receive up to $40 million in Federal funding. In addition the winner will receive $10 million in support from Paul Allen's Vulcan, Inc., to help mitigate emissions plus free installation from Mobileye of Mobileye Shield+ TM safety technology for the city's fleet of transit buses.

Continue Reading DOT Smart City Challenge ››
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Having a plan is essential when building something long-lasting and worthwhile. As public transportation faces an increase in ridership along with aging infrastructure, a safety plan is key to meeting growing demand while keeping passengers and workers safe.

Today, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a proposed rule for the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (Agency Safety Plan) and a notice of availability for the proposed National Public Transportation Safety Plan (National Safety Plan) that would provide a blueprint for transit agencies to make that happen.

We want to hear your thoughts on both the proposed National Safety Plan and the Agency Safety Plan proposed rule...

WMATA safety inspection

Continue Reading Making Public ››
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At the FHWA, safety is our top priority. We remind ourselves of it frequently, and to most people it probably seems like a simple mission. In fact, it‘s complicated.

Safety can only happen when nothing is overlooked, even the font used on highway signs. We strive to make the U.S. road system consistent from coast to coast. To minimize driver confusion, for example, STOP signs in California should look the same as they do in Maine.

Recently, we published a notice in the Federal Register that an experimental font called “Clearview” – for which we gave conditional use approval starting in 2004 – will not be approved for use on public roads after February 23...

HIghway gothic
Highway Gothic signage, photo courtesy KXRO
Continue Reading Keeping drivers safe one ››
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Yesterday, as Fast Lane readers probably noticed, the Department kicked off our year-long 50th Anniversary commemoration with a terrific bang: a ceremony that DOTers are not likely to forget very soon. Today, the hard work of the past 50 years continues.

We've dedicated this 50th Anniversary year to a different theme each month, a different aspect of transportation that DOT has been engaged in and continues to advance. So let's start with February and Transportation's Role in Advancing Ladders of Opportunity...

Boarding a transit bus

Continue Reading Shining a spotlight on ››
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