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I've been talking about transportation's role in connecting people and opportunity since I took the oath of office as Secretary. My colleague -and fellow former mayor-- HUD Secretary Julian Castro has been an equally strong advocate for the role housing plays. Of course, Fast Lane readers will recognize that these are not competing ideas but cooperative visions.

And today at the Brookings Institution discussion, "Pathways to Opportunity: Housing, Transportation, and Social Mobility," Secretary Castro and I discussed how transportation and land use decisions work together to break down barriers and build ladders of opportunity...

Secretaries Foxx and Castro with Amy Liu of Brookings

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Seven times since 2009, this Department has unleashed our TIGER program across America.  And seven times, this intensely competitive program has awarded grants to vital projects that improve transportation and provide real benefits to real people from coast to coast.

Today, at the annual legislative conference of the National Association of Counties, I announced that $500 million will be made available for our 2016 TIGER grants.

TIGER-stamped bridge across the Mississippi

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Richmond is a vibrant city on the move.  We were recently named one of the Top Destinations in the World to visit in 2016 by Travel & Leisure Magazine and one of America’s Top 5 Cities to keep on your radar by Huffington Post.   We have a rich cultural and arts community, and four Universities enrolling more than 45,000 students. 

Richmond skyline

While Richmond has numerous great attributes, we also have a 26% poverty rate. And since taking office in 2009, reducing our poverty rate has been one of my top priorities.  Investments that expand the tax base while also enhancing communities are critical to these efforts.

That is why I am thrilled about LadderSTEP and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s investment in Richmond’s Greater Fulton community...

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has spent roughly 5 decades working to improve the safety of vehicles and helping Americans make safer choices when they drive, ride, and walk. Today, America’s roads are safer than ever.

Yet there is cause for concern, particularly in our review of preliminary highway safety data from 2015. Our latest estimates show a 9.3 percent increase in motor vehicle deaths on our roads during the first nine months of last year.  While roadway deaths are down by 25 percent in the past decade, complacency isn’t a word in our vocabulary at NHTSA. We’re seeing red flags across the U.S., and we’re not waiting for the situation to develop further.

That’s why we were in Sacramento earlier this month, kicking off a series of regional summits we're holding across the country to improve our safety efforts...

NHTSA is leading the charge with a new strategy on human choices: “Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety.”
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As you might have heard or read, Vice President Biden took a 2-day tour up the Mississippi River this week to mark the 7th anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009. I had the pleasure of joining him for this celebration --of jobs saved and created, of an economy rescued from the depths of recession, and of a historic investment in the transportation infrastructure we so badly needed.

And I think it's safe to say that our pairing could not have been more apt.

You see, from the earliest days of the Administration, the President entrusted the Vice President with implementation of this crucial legislation. And, although DOT was only responsible for about 6 percent of total Recovery Act spending, by visiting our Headquarters together --not once, but twice-- within the first few months of the Recovery, the President and Vice President made very clear the important role the Administration's $48 billion transportation investment would play in jump-starting our economy. How did DOT respond? By punching way above our weight class...

Map of DOT Recovery Act funds obligated by state

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Yesterday, we marked the 7th anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, President Obama's substantial investment in US infrastructure that kept Americans at work, put other Americans back to work, helped rescue our economy, and made a significant downpayment toward a revitalized transportation system.

Today, we thought we'd share with you this playlist of videos from our YouTube archives. In each of these stories, you'll hear from someone whose job was a result of the Recovery Act. But you'll also hear something beyond the simple relief of someone who can rely on a paycheck; you'll hear the hope of someone who --thanks to this historic investment-- can imagine a stable economic future.

And you'll hear the satisfaction of Americans who are hard at work, building something that will keep our Nation moving forward...

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Without traffic cones or construction crews snarling traffic, it can be easy to forget the vast network of pipelines, spanning hundreds of thousands of miles across the country, transporting the oil that heats our homes and gasoline that fuels our cars. pipeline maintenanceHistorically, managing the health of pipelines was mostly reactive; only physical appearances, like major deformations and stresses, provided hints to potential fractures or warping.

In 2011, Houston-based Generation 2 Materials Technology, LLC (G2MT) produced an industry first with the release of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)-funded non-destructive pipeline stress analysis sensor. These sensors are able to determine the through-thickness residual stresses of materials that are built to withstand pressure, which can reveal pipeline stressors before they are visible -and before they cause damage.

Administered by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, the SBIR program helps entrepreneurs develop new and innovative solutions to complex transportation challenges, calling on the power of small businesses to help solve DOT’s most pressing needs...

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This past year, which saw the passage of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, has been momentous for the nation’s surface transportation system. And nowhere is this more than true than here in Phoenix, Arizona.

From securing a critical Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, to the passage of a plan to triple the city’s light rail system, to our participation in LadderSTEP, Phoenix achieved major transportation milestones in 2015 that will keep us moving forward in 2016 and beyond.

Light Rail map Phoenix

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This week, we commemorate the seventh anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), which the President signed into law on February 17, 2009.   Today and tomorrow the Vice President will visit New Orleans, Memphis, and St. Paul to highlight the Recovery Act’s role in restarting job growth and revitalizing our transportation system. You can read more about the Vice President's trip on Medium.

The Recovery Act provided over $48 billion in job-creating investments in transportation infrastructure, which put people back to work and comprised a significant down payment toward revitalizing our transportation system.

Recovery Act projects improved the Nation’s roads and bridges; led to expanded and safer public transit options; made a significant down-payment in American high-speed  rail; invested in runways, airports, and Air Traffic Control upgrades; supported game-changing investments through the innovative, multi-modal TIGER program; and assisted capital and infrastructure improvements at small shipyards...

Prsident Obama signs ARRA
President Obama signs Recovery Act; official White House photo.
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Like many mid-sized cities in America, Baton Rouge struggles to establish a robust public transportation system.  The result of our dependence on private autos is a clogged road network that consistently ranks us as one of the worst congested cities in the United States.  Two years ago our community, to the surprise of many, voted to fund our bus system through a property tax.  Since that time, little has changed with regard to attracting riders.

But today, we are on the threshold of great change thanks to the understanding and commitment of Secretary Foxx to help local governments address outdated transit systems. With the benefit of a DOT TIGER grant, Baton Rouge has begun planning its first modern streetcar system.  When completed, this 3-mile route will connect the state’s largest University to our State Capitol located just north of downtown. 

In addition to the TIGER grant, Secretary Foxx also selected Baton Rouge as one of seven cities to participate in the Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Pilot, or LadderSTEP.  He came to our city and talked with us about how we can better address the transportation needs of our region. He provided technical assistance and additional resources to Baton Rouge through DOT with the goal of reconnecting an historic neighborhood --Old South Baton Rouge-- to opportunity...

Rendering of River District in Old South Baton Rouge

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