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Today, I’m proud to announce that the Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is awarding nearly $2 million to universities carrying out research projects designed to find pipeline safety solutions. 

PHMSA is the federal administration that develops and enforces regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation's 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system. Our Competitive Academic Agreement Program (CAAP) provides undergraduate and graduate students with an opportunity to bring fresh perspectives to filling technical gaps and developing a range of safety technologies. Two years after the successful launch of this program, we're happy to congratulate this year's recipients...

Photo of pipeline safety research

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When you make a major purchase like a house or a car, you want to maintain it in good condition so it can provide reliable and safe use for many years.  The same is true for the transit buses and trains, stations, tracks and infrastructure, and other equipment and facilities used to deliver service that millions of people depend on every day.

Right now, the backlog of investment needed to replace and rehabilitate our Nation's aging transit infrastructure into a state of good repair is an estimated $86 billion.

One way to lower maintenance costs for transit assets, increase reliability and performance, reduce travel delays for riders, and improve safety is by identifying and prioritizing state of good repair needs.  That's why, today, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a proposed rule that would require public transportation agencies to monitor and manage their capital assets with the goal of achieving and maintaining a state of good repair. 

The proposed rule --required by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and available for public comment-- would define the term “state of good repair” and require public transportation agencies to develop Transit Asset Management Plans that inventory and assess the condition of their capital assets...

President Obama and Sec Foxx tour Metro Transit maintenance shop

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I was thrilled to be back in Central Florida this week on behalf of Secretary Foxx to sign a $93.4 million full funding grant agreement with SunRail. The Federal Transit Administration grant will support the 17.2-mile second phase of expanded commuter rail service from Southern Orlando into Osceola County.

And I was pleased to be joined by Congressman John Mica, Congressman Alan Grayson, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer –three great champions for public transportation.

Group photo from SunRail event

The new line will extend from south of Orlando through Kissimmee to Poinciana in Osceola County.  The project promises improved transit access to regional employment, entertainment, cultural, and retail destinations, including the Orlando Central Business District, and –through transit connections– to the Orlando International Airport, Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, and the Lake Nona mixed-use commercial community.

FTA’s contribution to SunRail for Phase II South will cover about half the cost of the extension. This worthwhile investment will bring more transportation options to even more people so they can access jobs, services, shopping, entertainment, and other destinations when service opens in 2019...

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Yesterday, NASA released data indicating evidence for liquid water on Mars, and it's got a lot of people pretty excited, including me. But the reality is, whether we find water on Mars or not, we have important needs to attend to right here on Earth. And we will have to attend to those for a very long time.

One of those needs is to create and maintain a transportation system that gets people where they need to go and delivers the goods that drive our economy and sustain our lives. And while building roads and bridges might not sound as interesting as exploring the conditions for life on Mars, it's critically important to the lives Americans lead right here, right now.

Last year, President Obama charged this Department with creating the Build America Transportation Investment Center to help us accomplish that mission. And today, we are formally announcing that we have hired a talented team of individuals to operate the center, which we call "BATIC," and outlined its three areas of activity.

BATIC serves as the single point of contact and coordination for states, municipalities, and project sponsors looking to harness federal transportation expertise, apply for federal transportation financing programs, and explore ways to access private capital in public private partnerships...

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In a new DOT pilot program, New York City and Pensacola, Florida, will test delivery and pickup of goods during off-peak hours, such as nighttime, to help relieve congestion on city streets. 

The problem of local traffic is well-known to any major U.S. city; truck operators suffer when forced to crawl through crowded city streets, and residents suffer when trucks block travel lanes or parking access. With commuter traffic lighter and parking more available, off-peak hours should make delivery easier for truck drivers as well as peak commuters and people scrambling for parking. 

And thanks to DOT research, development, and deployment grants totaling $200,000, these two pilot cities will helps us test this idea... 

Night time delivery eases traffic, parking concerns

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In his 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama said: “No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”

It is clear that action is needed to reduce transportation’s impact on the environment. According to DOT's Center for Climate Change, emissions from transportation constitute 28 percent of total greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in the United States –the second-highest amount of any sector. And passenger vehicle and truck travel –including transit– accounts for nearly two-thirds of those emissions.

That’s why, last Friday, the Federal Transit Administration announced $22.5 million in available funding for transit agencies nationwide to procure and deploy cleaner, more energy-efficient transit buses through our Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program, which we call LoNo...

AC Transit hydrogen fuel-cell bus

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A year into the U.S. Secretary of Transportation's "Safer People, Safer Streets" initiative, America Walks congratulates and thanks Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the Department of Transportation for their commitment to making America a great place to walk. Through their leadership, transportation departments, city and state government, and agency decision makers are shifting priorities and perspectives toward design standards that prioritize the need to provide safe and convenient walking access for all.

It is no small feat working to ensure that all people have safe, walkable infrastructure to access their basic daily needs, whether walking to the store, the bus, or school, or for pleasure or exercise. Achieving this goal requires the tireless commitment of elected officials, government agencies, community and business leaders, and grassroots advocates. America Walks, a national non-profit organization, supports and educates local leaders and organizations to effectively work for these changes.

We are proud to be working in concert with Secretary Foxx and the Department of Transportation on achieving the goal of safe, accessible and walkable communities for everyone...

America Walks logo

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Last Monday’s Sun Corridor mega-region Beyond Traffic forum in Phoenix was a fascinating and necessary discussion – with stakes that are increasingly high.

I encourage everyone to read the Beyond Traffic framework that looks ahead to 2045 and outlines the infrastructure challenges that the Southwest and other mega-regions are facing. There’s no sugarcoating this; it’s sobering. For Arizonans who share my vision for an innovation-based, globally competitive export economy for our region, this was a wakeup call.

We don’t have to imagine what kind of interruption to commerce could happen when our major highway infrastructure fails. We got a taste of it live this summer when I-10 lost a single lane out in the California desert after a flash flood washed out a bridge. Think about this, the Beyond Traffic framework tells us that 65 percent of the roads in our country are in poor condition and the same for 25 percent of our bridges.

And the only gridlock that’s worse than what Beyond Traffic envisions is what we’re seeing in Congress right now. We have a crisis. I join President Obama and Secretary Anthony Foxx in calling on Congress to pass a bill this year that extends and makes whole the Highway Trust Fund...

Mayor Stanton (right) with Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez

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Last weekend, the Federal Highway Administration, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, the Connecticut DOT (CTDOT), and New Haven area residents celebrated the opening of the highly anticipated Pearl Harbor Memorial “Q” Bridge. This $677 million bridge –of which nearly $590 million was federal funding– is a key part of the much larger $2 billion corridor project to improve I-95 through the New Haven area.

The original “Q” Bridge –so named because it spans the Quinnipiac River– was designed to accommodate up to 40,000 drivers each day. The new bridge, a 10-lane wonder, will accommodate triple that number...

Q bridge opening ceremony

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So, we know our revenues and our certainty are about as low as they’ve ever been. We know for sure that our country is growing and that we’re going to have more people accessing our roads, rails, and airports and more freight to move than ever before. Rather than having a single strategy, we need to have an all-of-the-above strategy. We need to use every financing tool available. When it makes sense, we need to turn to the private sector.

That's where Public-Private Partnerships come in. Now, it’s not that public-private partnerships haven’t been happening in U.S. infrastructure. They’ve been happening for a while. Earlier this week, I spoke with members of the Long Term Infrastructure Investors Association about the environment for these partnerships in the U.S. and DOT's efforts to improve that environment...

T-Rex light rail track work

Continue Reading To Build America, an all-of ››
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