America's transportation system bears a critical burden: it must move people and deliver the goods and materials that Americans need and want safely and efficiently, to help America's businesses compete effectively in the global economy.
This requirement isn’t easy to achieve. And, it’s about to get a lot more challenging with projected population and employment growth. But, a provision in the recently passed Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act offers DOT an opportunity to make significant headway in nationally and regionally significant projects.
At DOT, we all know that keeping America's freight moving is a key to economic growth, and we work hard to find ways to keep it moving as our transportation system faces the challenges of the future. But it’s important to have this conversation in places that are engines of the freight economy. We want to learn from local businesses and stakeholders in real cities.
It’s timely to have the conversation now because the recently enacted FAST Act is the first reauthorization bill to provide dedicated funding for freight investment in the country. And to receive funding, states will be required to have a freight plan in place.
So we’ve launched a series of roundtables on the freight economy that we’re planning to take around the country.
Today, I traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico with Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau to join Governor Alejandro Javier García Padilla and Puerto Rico Secretary of Transportation and Public Works Miguel Torres Díaz in signing an agreement that further strengthens the Administration’s commitment to develop transportation infrastructure and promote economic recovery in the Commonwealth.
This agreement provides federal technical assistance to ensure that Puerto Rican transportation officials are able to expeditiously access about $400 million in previously obligated federal funds for infrastructure projects that will create jobs and spur economic development. It also represents an important step in Puerto Rico’s plan to improve its billing procedures by increasing capacity for developing and sustaining best practices, such as using electronic funds transfer and reducing the time it takes to pay contractors. And the agreement permits the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to authorize the retroactive use of toll credits to be used for state matches, allowing the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) to maximize their access to federal funding.
When a community invests in a bridge or rail project, they get more out if than just another piece of infrastructure; they get a better connection to the opportunity available outside that community. But when the same community is allowed to hire locally --when residents get a shot at building the project-- that creates opportunity within the community, and that's a powerful dividend.
Recently, Secretary Foxx wrote to stakeholders, reminding them that every $1 billion invested in federal highway and transit projects would support 13,000 jobs. He also told them of several different options to ensure that some of those jobs stay in the community...
This afternoon, I appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies. I thanked Congress for its work in passing a bipartisan surface transportation bill last December, which has done a lot to remove the cloud of uncertainty hanging over our transportation system for the better part of the last decade.
And I also invited them to join President Obama and this Department as we build on the FAST Act with an even more robust budget proposal that creates an American transportation system unrivaled in its ability to meet the challenges of the future...
Earlier this month, we began a series of blog posts from a special set of mayors who have been part of DOT's Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Pilot or LadderSTEP. Now that we've given these five leaders the blog space to write about their cities' LadderSTEP experience, it's important for us to thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts with our readers.
It's one thing for us to write about the value of connecting communities, helping people get work, and revitalizing neighborhoods; it's another thing for you to hear it from those on the front lines.
While we are excited by the progress we’ve made in our 7 pilot cities, we continue to identify and elevate best practices that can spark replication and influence public transportation investment strategies. But we can do more...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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...