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America's cities face a number of transportation challenges, not the least of which is anticipated population growth over the next two decades and endangered federal investment in the transportation necessary to move those new residents and the goods they will need. For the last three days, however, a group of more than 300 innovative leaders gathered in Los Angeles to help chart a course toward meeting those challenges.

Now in its second year, CityLab --sponsored by The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies-- brings together mayors, urban experts, city planners, writers, technologists, economists, and designers from around the world in a constructive dialogue about creating scalable solutions for city leaders to share with their communities...

Photo of Secretary Foxx meeting construction workers on LA Downtown Regional Connector project

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If you read my Fast Lane post from yesterday, then you know I was in Kansas City on Monday. And in addition to seeing the Prospect Avenue corridor on that trip, I also was able to visit the workers who are replacing the city's Manchester Bridge.

This bridge serves 90,000 vehicles a day; it feeds tons of freight into the Blue Valley Industrial District. But the current structure has deteriorated to the point where it has required repair after repair in recent years just to keep stay open.

Now, thanks to recent investment, the bridge will soon be able to move people and goods safely and reliably for generations to come. So, yes, we’re proud of that, but –to be honest– we’re also concerned...

Photo of Secretary Foxx with KC construction workers

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The Prospect Avenue corridor in Kansas City, Missouri, has been struggling a bit from underinvestment in recent years, but --with some help from DOT-- that is changing.

A lot of people living along this corridor rely on the bus to get to work, to school, to medical appointments.  The Route 71 bus –which is just one of three routes on Prospect Corridor– carries 6,000 riders a day. But right now for some people, especially people with disabilities, taking the bus isn’t always an option because the infrastructure at and around the bus stops isn’t doing the job it’s supposed to...

Photo of Secretary Foxx looking at gaping hole in kansas city sidewalk
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Our nation marks Hispanic Heritage Month every year from September 15 to October 15, and DOT is proud of the innovative ways we observe the event.  This month's theme, "Hispanics:  A Legacy of History, a Present of Action, and a Future of Success," reminds us of the Hispanic leadership in our country and the pipeline of talent that lies ahead.

And we’re not just reminding people about that pipeline; we're helping build it...

Poster for National Hispanic Heritage Month

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It takes organizations like COMTO, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, to ensure that minority transportation workers aren’t unfairly denied higher-paying jobs or promotions, and that minority-owned, small, and disadvantaged businesses (DBEs) get a fair shot at contracting opportunities.

At DOT, we support that effort, too –not just making sure we rebuild America’s infrastructure, but making sure that all Americans can participate in building it. And last week, we raised the stakes with a new rule designed to improve our DBE program regulations...

Photo of construction work on the I-70 Stan Musial Bridge

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Carrying 95 percent of U.S. foreign trade, our maritime transportation system, which includes America’s ports, is a crucial component of our nation’s economy. And with our growing population --and the associated need to increase the amount of freight our transportation network carries-- maritime’s value will only grow in the future.

This point is not lost on the Obama Administration, and it’s the reason why Vice President Joe Biden joined U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-3), Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim, Virginia Port Authority CEO/Executive Director John Reinhart, and me at the Port of Virginia in Norfolk on Wednesday. We were there to highlight the Port’s role as an economic engine for the region and its continued development of facilities and services in anticipation of the need to move greater freight volumes...

Photo of VP Biden in Norfolk

Continue Reading Vice President Biden ››
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This morning, in Detroit, I went back to school. I was in Detroit to announce a $25 million grant to purchase 50 new buses as part of an effort to bring safer, more reliable transit. 
This grant is a part of a $100-million-dollar announcement from the Federal Transit Administration that includes 23 other, similar recipients across America. And it’s part of a larger effort DOT is making to open up the door of opportunity to more Americans, wherever they live, whatever their background, whatever their economic circumstances. 
For me, this announcement was more than business as usual. And instead of addressing a group of city officials –probably in suits and perhaps with a bus as our backdrop— I made the announcement at Cass Technical High School to an audience of students.

Photo of passengers boarding Detroit bus

Why on earth would I share this news there? Why would a group of young students care about new city buses?
Because the young men and women at Cass Tech are doing more than just filling seats; they’re preparing. They are the hope of Detroit and of Michigan and of America. 
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Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) is coming soon (October 6-10), but there's still plenty of time to prepare.

DSWW, sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, is an opportunity for executive leadership to adopt employee safe driving as part of their corporate culture. NETS provides tools and ideas to start, expand, and sustain an effective road safety program...

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I met some good people yesterday. Yerimi Felipe and Roxana Espino work building rail transit cars at the Kawasaki Plant in Lincoln, Nebraska. That's 1,000 miles from Washington, DC, and it's probably safe to say that no one in Washington knows Yerimi and Roxana. That includes the DC-area commuters who will someday be riding in the new Metro cars built in Lincoln. And that includes the Members of Congress whose decisions on transportation funding in the coming months will have a profound impact on Yerimi, Roxana, and their co-workers in Nebraska.

Yerimi builds some of the railcar doors; Roxana does wiring for communication systems.  They're married, with two kids, and they're trying to figure out how to send their son, Kelvin, to college next year. They work hard; they have busy lives.  So they don’t necessarily have time to follow everything that’s going on in DC. Nevertheless, Yerimi and Roxana say they trust that Congress will do what's best for the people.

I hope they're right...

Photo of Secretary Foxx speaking with workers at Kawaskai's Lincoln, NE railcar plant

Continue Reading An important Civics lesson ››
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President Obama has taken unprecedented action to build the foundation for a clean energy economy, tackle the issue of climate change and protect our environment.  The maritime industry understands and embraces this thinking not only because it makes sense, but also as it will be essential to future viability of marine transportation.   The industry continues to take a leading role in environmental responsibility and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is helping them chart the course.

With two recently released reports examining storage and bunkering options for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and providing vital data on natural gas emissions, MARAD’s Office of Environment and Safety is providing information the industry needs to transition to cleaner burning fuels. And by identifying potential challenges and recommending best practices and new standards, MARAD is working to streamline the development of a transportation network that supports the integration of natural gas as a marine fuel.

Yesterday, we took another step forward with approval of a $324.6 million Title XI loan guarantee to TOTE Shipholdings, Inc., a 2014 White House Transportation Champion of Change, to finance construction of two container ships that will use LNG as propulsion fuel...

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