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At NHTSA, we spend a lot of time in December talking about drunk driving. That’s because the holiday season is a particularly dangerous time on our roads. Too often, when people celebrate the season with alcohol they then choose to get behind the wheel. According to figures the agency just released, 9,967 people died in drunk driving crashes in the United States in 2014. In December 2014, 788 lives were lost due to drunk driving – one death every 57 minutes.

That’s why we are again teaming up with State and local law enforcement nationwide this holiday season to keep drunk drivers off the streets. This annual campaign is called the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday enforcement crackdown and this year it runs from December 16 to January 1.  More than 10,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies will be on the road to enforce the law and protect the public.

We also released a video from Antonio Mason, who was a student-athlete attending community college before seeing his dreams of playing basketball at a four-year college cut short by a drunk driver...

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The United States and Mexico have a strong, longstanding relationship when it comes to aviation.  And I’m happy to announce that after over two years of negotiations, our two nations are on the threshold of entering a new era in this important relationship.

Today, I was proud to join Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transport Ruiz Esparza, Undersecretary Mascott, colleagues from the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce, and aviation stakeholders from Mexico and the United States to sign a new, modern air transport agreement between the United States and Mexico.

Photo of Secretary Foxx and Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transport Ruiz Esparza signing a new, modern air transport agreement between the United States and Mexico

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On December 9, I had the honor of being in Piti, Guam, to celebrate completion of a $50 million modernization and expansion of the Jose D. Leon Guerrero Commercial Port —the first upgrade of Guam’s port infrastructure and landside facilities in nearly half a century.  While I’m always pleased when the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is able to contribute to and spotlight port improvement projects, this was a truly historical occasion for the island of Guam as well as the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and I’ll tell you why...

Photo of the Guam commercial port

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If you’re an avid traveler, you’ve probably heard by now that the U.S. and Cuba reached an arrangement to restore scheduled air service between our two nations.

This is a great step forward in President Obama’s policy of engagement with Cuba. In the past year, the U.S. and Cuba have reopened embassies in Washington and Havana and have taken many other steps to normalize relations...

Airplane in flight

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If you're like many Americans, there's a good chance you'll be going to the movies in the next couple of weeks. There's also a good chance that in the time it takes to sit through a movie—about two hours—two Americans will die in drunk driving tragedies. In total, 9,967 people died in drunk driving crashes in the United States in 2014.

The holidays are a particularly dangerous time as many celebrate the season with alcohol and then make the often deadly choice to get behind the wheel impaired.

Here at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we’re passionate about protecting Americans when they’re on the road. That’s why we team up with State and local law enforcement every holiday season to keep drunk drivers off our streets. We call it the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday enforcement crackdown, and this year it runs from December 16 to January 2 —the days of celebration that too often turn deadly because of drunk driving.

More than 10,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies will be on the road to combat this safety threat. So be warned: if you drink and drive, you’ll be caught, arrested, and prosecuted. We’ll also be showing our brand new ads about the dangers of drunk driving before screenings of one of the most anticipated new films of the year, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

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With President Obama’s signature on the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, state and local transit agencies now have $305 billion to improve the nation’s public transportation systems over the next 5 years. The Act also increases Buy America requirements to 70 percent (previously 60 percent), which will boost American manufacturing.

J.M.A. logoFounded in 2013, Jobs to Move America (JMA) is a national project that is working to ensure transit investments like those provided by the FAST Act will “go the distance” by creating good manufacturing jobs in the United States for local and historically underrepresented communities, including women, people of color, persons with disabilities, veterans, and people with convictions who need a second chance.

Last week, JMA helped organize a series of activities in Washington, DC, to highlight the job-creating potential of the FAST Act and related initiatives.  On December 8, 2015, JMA joined University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) economists to release a new study, Strengthening U.S. Manufacturing Through Public Procurement Policies. This first of its kind study finds that policies like the FAST Act’s increase in Buy America requirements can support tens of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs.  The study also finds that much more is needed because the U.S. has lost five million manufacturing jobs in recent years. 

To advocate for a proactive job creation program by public agencies across the US, we brought 11 bus and railcar manufacturing workers from 6 states to join one of the UMass report's coauthors, Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor of Economics, on Capitol Hill to release the study and to convey a strong message to Congress: Manufacturing jobs change lives and communities, especially when they pay well and provide training and support for careers...

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When the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) assumed temporary direct safety oversight of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail system in October, one of my top priorities was to ensure we are transparent in our goals and activities. 

The federal government has never before taken on direct safety oversight of a public transit system. That’s why it’s important for WMATA passengers and employees and the rail transit industry to understand what we are doing and why.

Metrorail train inspection

First and foremost, although we are directly supervising WMATA's progress, the responsibility for performing the actual work of making Metrorail and Metrobus safer still sits squarely on WMATA...

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Cover of F.H.W.A. Bike-Ped Case Studies reportIn 2014, DOT unveiled Safer People, Safer Streets, a significant effort to address bike and pedestrian safety issues nationwide and help communities create safer, better-connected non-motorized networks.  The Federal Highway Administration has been a strong contributor to this initiative, working with safety advocates, planners, and state and local DOTs to conduct safety assessments and develop strategies to improve travel for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Last week, we launched our latest step in this initiative, Case Studies in Delivering Safe, Comfortable, and Connected Pedestrian and Bicycle Networks

For Case Studies, FHWA Division Offices gathered examples of bike-ped network improvement projects initiated by State DOTs, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), counties, cities, and other entities to get a better sense of what communities are achieving. Those 86 examples –21 regional, 6 statewide, and 59 local– were categorized into several key project types, including planning and prioritization, shared use paths, corridor improvements, bridges, on-road facilities, intersections, and crossing improvements...

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Residents of the Cherokee Nation in northeastern Oklahoma rely on transit buses for many of their transportation needs, from getting to work to seeing a doctor. Cherokee tribal residents are such dedicated patrons of their rural bus system that they boosted ridership a whopping 114 percent between 2013 and 2014. The tribe now counts some 80,000 bus rides a year.

Cherokee Nation transit vehicle

The Cherokee Nation, which received a $92,500 grant to purchase eight clean fuel buses, is one of 55 tribes that received 2015 funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s Tribal Transit Program this month.  Cherokee tribal leaders set a great example for customer service-oriented transit services. They use online surveys to determine routing. They stay in touch with residents using an e-mail database of 8,000 contacts. They present at community meetings and run newspaper ads. All of that work undoubtedly paid off in the dramatic ridership increase.

The Cherokee Nation grant was part of a total of $10 million awarded nationwide in Tribal Transit discretionary grants, which fund the buses and vans that connect tribal residents with jobs, education, healthcare, and other vital services. This year, funds went to 65 projects in 18 states, providing tribal communities, most of them located far from population centers, with their only access to public transportation...

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One of the ways DOT serves the American public is by working with small businesses to find new ways to improve our nation’s roadways. Our Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program encourages small businesses to explore potential solutions to transportation challenges.

In 2009, we solicited research on a topic sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA): to develop a new pavement that could generate power and transfer it to the power grid. The SBIR Phase I submission had to meet the following requirements:

  • Use recycled material;
  • Withstand traffic loads; and
  • Be durable enough to avoid costly replacement cycles.

In response to this solicitation, Solar Roadways, Inc., began proof-of-concept work. Their proposal: self-sustaining pavement, made from hexagon-shaped solar panels. If successful, this pavement could potentially eliminate the current practice of replacing asphalt, and ultimately transform the nation’s roadways into an intelligent pavement system...

Solar roadway panels
Solar roadway panels feature LED lights which can "paint" the road lines from beneath, lighting up the road for safer night time driving.
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