It is hard to overstate America’s reliance on a safe and efficient freight network. This network is the circulation system that fuels our economy health and helps secure our Nation, and the Obama Administration has consistently emphasized the importance of improving our infrastructure.
That is exactly what brought me to Quincy, IL, earlier this month. With $12 billion in goods transported to global markets each year through Quincy by road, rail, or river, this community is a domestic and international economic hub.
Because our population will grow by 70 million during the next 30 years --and to support that population our freight volume will have to increase by 45 percent-- community leaders in Quincy are working with DOT's Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC) to develop a port that can support the region’s expected freight growth...
Last month here in the Fast Lane, I launched DOT's Mayor's Challenge For Safer People and Safer Streets. Today, I'm pleased to say that 86 communities from across the U.S. have committed to join the Mayors' Challenge and improve safety for bicycle riders and pedestrians of all ages and abilities over the next year.
And the good news is, there's still time for more cities to sign up.
The Challenge will showcase local practices to improve safety, share tools for local leaders to take action, and promote partnerships to advance pedestrian and bicycle safety. Mayors, other elected officials, and team leaders from registered cities will attend a summit in March then return to their communities to start taking action in seven different challenge areas...
America’s rail transit systems already offer one of the safest ways to travel about your local community, and we at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are working to make public transportation by rail even safer.
That's why, last Friday, Secretary Foxx announced a new proposed rule that will improve, modernize and transform rail transit safety oversight to help ensure the increased level of safety expected by the millions of passengers who use rail transit every day.
Last Friday afternoon, our GROW AMERICA Express bus tour pulled into Washington, DC's, Union Station after a 1,100-mile journey through five states. We had gone on the road four days earlier for one reason: to encourage Congress to act on a long-term transportation bill.
In Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and DC, I saw great examples of the kind of investment in transportation infrastructure that can help communities grow, help businesses compete, and help people get more safely and reliably to jobs and other opportunities.
We also visited places where strong projects that would achieve those same goals were stuck perpetually on the launch pad.
Many thanks to everyone who turned out to welcome us back to DC!
This morning, the GROW AMERICA Express pulled into Virginia’s Richmond International Airport, where we made two big safety announcements. These steps forward on safety highlight the ways that government, consumer advocates, and businesses can work together.
At the airport, I was joined by Mark Rosekind, the Administrator of our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, by safety advocate Rosemary Shahan, and by representatives of the rental car industry to talk about how we can keep vehicles with safety defects off our highways.
As Fast Lane readers know, industry and safety advocates don't always agree, but these folks have come together on a common-sense proposition: rental car agencies should not be able to rent a vehicle that is under a safety recall until any safety defects have been repaired...
This afternoon I visited Durham, North Carolina, where I got an up-close view of the powerful effect that transportation investment can have on people’s lives.
While planning progresses on the rail line, the downtown Durham area is already undergoing a renaissance. New businesses are sprouting up; existing businesses are moving to the area; and new restaurants are opening. This is all well in advance of the light rail line’s opening, projected to be in 2026.
Getting to opening day, however, will take continued financial support. Durham and Chapel Hill as well as countless other communities across the country need to be able to commit to multi-year transportation projects, but they need federal funding in addition to local funding commitments to do that...
When you're making the case for stable investment in American passenger rail, it helps to have with you the nation's greatest champion for passenger rail --Vice President Joe Biden.
The Vice President and I have been traveling up the East Coast this week as part of the GROW AMERICA Express to focus America’s attention on our infrastructure, and to remind the American people that we are at a crucial crossroads. And as we consider our options for moving forward, Vice President Biden knows well that passenger rail is an important piece of the transportation puzzle...
North Carolina’s transportation infrastructure is one of our state’s most important assets, touching every North Carolina citizen in one way or another through its impact on safety, quality of life, economic development, and daily commerce. That network gets kids to school, employees to work, groceries to shelves, and more. It is crucial to North Carolina.
North Carolina is attracting people at one of the fastest rates of any state across the country. With the growing population, it will be critical to provide a 21st Century network of roads, highways, and bridges that can accommodate the mobility demands of our citizens.
However, North Carolina is heading towards a transportation crisis with declining sustainability, growing population, aging roads and bridges, and well-documented transportation needs. And the problem won’t get any better or go away as we add 3 million residents over the next 15 years...
Owen Steel in Columbia, SC, is a great success story. For nearly 80 years, every time a city has made a choice about their future –and decided to build a bridge or an office building or a hospital– Owen Steel has rolled out steel fabrications to help build those structures. This company has produced some of the largest steel towers in the US and has had a hand in some of our greatest infrastructure. For example, 1,500 tons of Owen steel holds up the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island.
But a few miles away, where I-26 and I-20 meet, we saw a highway where a massive infrastructure project ought to be--but isn't. Known locally as “Malfunction Junction,” this intersection poses a constant bottleneck to motorists and truck drivers.
Reworking “Malfunction Junction” is one of South Carolina’s top transportation improvement projects; it would reduce the traffic jams that slow freight movement and frustrate thousands of drivers each day. Unfortunately, that solution is years away from starting for a pretty simple reason: inadequate funding...
It's a great privilege to have Vice President Biden join me on the GROW AMERICA Express today and tomorrow. Together, we'll try to focus America’s attention on our infrastructure and remind the American people that the future is a choice.
And few communities understand that better than our first stop this morning, the Port of Charleston, South Carolina. Because Charleston has already decided what future they want to have when it comes to transportation...