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Since we announced our 2015 TIGER grants late last month, we've been talking a lot about the tremendous difference TIGER projects make in their communities and about the impact they have on important national priorities like mobility, safety, sustainability, and even public health.

And yesterday at Houston's recently opened Buffalo Bayou Park, I had the great privilege of sharing one of our TIGER projects with one of America's strongest champions of infrastructure investment, Vice President Joe Biden.

The $15 million grant we awarded to the City of Houston in 2012 for construction of new, safe, and accessible connections to transit service is a powerful example of how DOT's TIGER can help communities achieve multiple goals with a single transportation project...

Photo of Vice President Biden speaking in Houston

Continue Reading Vice President Biden touts ››
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As many have written here in the Fast Lane, DOT is very enthusiastic about connected vehicle technology and the safety, mobility, and environmental benefits that it promises. We in the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) also recognize that this may be a new concept for some. That's why we have recently launched a new website describing the basics of connected vehicles.

Through this new site, everyone can understand the fundamentals of connected vehicles and learn why everyone at DOT is so excited about this promising technology.

Screen capture of the Connected Vehicles Basics website

Connected vehicle technology will wirelessly connect our vehicles to each other, to our roads, and to our personal mobile devices so they can exchange secure information about their position, speed, brake status, and more. It can also provide timely, situation-appropriate warnings and recommendations to drivers. The Connected Vehicles Basics website answers questions regarding how this technology works, what it makes possible, and how it will be used...

Continue Reading New "Connected ››
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Today, the American Highway Users Alliance released a report identifying the 50 worst traffic bottlenecks on American highways, providing even more truth that America is stuck in traffic.

The question is: What is the country going to do about it? 

After 36 short-term extensions, I am encouraged that Congress is finally conferencing on a long-term surface transportation bill, and to see that there are many places where the proposed House and Senate bills align with needs we foresaw in the GROW AMERICA Act.

But important areas of opportunity remain.

If, after 36 extensions and so much uncertainty and false starts, Congress passes a bill that still results in worse traffic, we will have missed a great opportunity.

Continue Reading Miles to go as Congress ››
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At DOT we’re always working to build a stronger, more sustainable American transportation system. Part of that process is promoting new vehicle technologies and infrastructure that can reduce costs, fuel consumption, and our impact on the planet.

After all, we only have one planet—and our children depend on us to care for and protect it.

Logo for D.O.E. workplace charging challenge

That’s why as Chief Sustainability Officer for DOT, I’m excited to announce that we are the first Federal Agency to join the Department of Energy’s (Energy.gov) Workplace Charging Challenge...

Continue Reading DOT First to “Plug-in” to ››
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At the U.S. Department of Transportation, we aren’t reserved about our ambitions for the future of roadway safety.

In 2012, traffic fatality rates fell to historic lows. Our roadways saw just 1.14 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.  In 2013, that number fell even lower to 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.  Passenger vehicles, large trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians all saw declines in crash-related fatalities.

In fact, since 2004, road fatalities have dropped 25 percent. And since this Department’s founding, the United States has seen the motor vehicle fatality rate drop by 80 percent.

But, while we’re proud of this accomplishment, we know it is not enough.  Our vision for the future of road transportation is one Toward Zero Deaths, and yesterday I was proud to honor winners of the 2015 Roadway Safety Awards, who share our vision.

Group photo of 2015 Roadway Safety Award winners

Continue Reading Honoring the Roadway Safety ››
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In 2013 --the most recent year of available data-- 3,964 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks. That includes 78 bicyclists and 338 pedestrians, or 2 and 8.5 percent respectively of all fatalities. A recent analysis also shows pedestrian and bicyclist deaths from crashes involving large trucks increasing at roughly the same rate as those from all motor vehicle crashes.

Cyclist in bike lane near large trucks

This Department is committed to improving safety for everyone, including bicyclists and pedestrians who may be required to sometimes share the road with large commercial trucks and buses.

And this Wednesday, November 18, at 2 pm EST, FMCSA takes the next step with a webinar examining large truck crash fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists...

Continue Reading Webinar examines bicyclists ››
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The City of Willmar is a proud partner in a project to construct a railway by-pass on the community's west side. The project --officially called the Willmar Rail Connector and Industrial Access Project-- is known locally as the Willmar Wye project. Last Friday, Willmar was proud to welcome Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg, who announced that the city and its project partners have been awarded a $10 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant to support the estimated $46 million cost of the project.

The Willmar Wye project is being developed with the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), Minnesota Department of Transportation, Kandiyohi County, and Kandiyohi County/City of Willmar Economic Development Commission. Currently, trains coming either from the northwest or from the southwest on BNSF lines have to pull all the way into the Willmar yard, reverse direction, and then head back to either the southwest or northwest.  The project will result in approximately 10,000 feet of new track being constructed to connect two BNSF mainlines so the railway can bypass the City of Willmar to the west. It will provide for rail access to the west end of the expanded Willmar Industrial Park being developed at the site of the former airport.

With the award of TIGER funding, we anticipate that actual construction could begin in 2017, following land acquisition...

Continue Reading TIGER grant advances rail ››
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This Sunday, November 15, is World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, a day honoring the millions who have been killed in crashes on the world’s roads.

This year happens to be the 20th anniversary of this commemoration and the 10th anniversary of its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly. Here at the United States Department of Transportation, we think this 20/10 milestone in raising awareness of the need for greater road safety warrants something more from us than a Tweet or Facebook post.

In particular, given that the number of fatalities on America’s roads have generally declined in recent years except for a noticeable spike in deaths among bicyclists and pedestrians, we want to focus our attention this World Remembrance Day on crash victims who were walking or biking...

Continue Reading World Day of Remembrance ››
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Since 1985, the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville has played an important role in handling millions of tons of steel, grain, fertilizer, salt, and other bulk cargoes for both inbound and outbound markets --domestic and abroad. The port's central location connects the Midwest to the world with the Inland Waterways System, providing year-round access to the Great Lakes as well as ocean vessels in the Gulf of Mexico that can be transloaded with barges coming from or going to Jeffersonville. Trade through the port supports tens of thousands of jobs for Hoosiers and Kentuckians employed by the companies and farms that utilize the port every day, generating nearly $1.5 billion in economic value every year.

While the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville provides a number of competitive advantages to the Louisville region that includes southeast Indiana and north-central Kentucky, we know continued investments in infrastructure are crucial for ports to meet the predicted growth in freight, alleviate surface transportation congestion, and provide alternatives for shippers. It's good to see that DOT knows that, too.

Last month, Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen visited the port to announce the award of a $10 million DOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery —or “TIGER”— grant...

Aerial view of Port activity

Continue Reading TIGER Revs Up the Hoosier ››
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Yesterday, I had the honor of addressing hundreds of dedicated U.S. servicemen and women, as well as their family members, loved ones and friends at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall here in Washington, DC.  As a retired career naval officer, it was a special privilege for me to lead this heartfelt Veterans Day tribute to all of the members of the United States Armed Forces—from the hundreds of thousands who perished in past wars and conflicts, to the millions who stood with them, and especially those proudly serving today both at home and abroad.

As we reaffirmed the noble legacy of our veterans in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard—I also underscored the critical role and service of the U.S. Merchant Marine in every major overseas war involving our nation.  While our military members have braved the line of fire in many battles, it is crucial that they get to the conflict, and it is crucial that they have the supplies and equipment to win the fight.

And, from World War I to the present day, U.S. Merchant Mariners and U.S. Flag vessels have been the foundation of that immensely valuable national capability.

Wreath-laying ceremony at World War II Memorial

Continue Reading Veterans: American Heroes, ››
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