Major trends are shaping the future of our transportation systems. Our population is growing and aging. Our legacy transit systems need more attention every day. Our roads and runways face increasing congestion.
America's way of life and continued economic growth depend on meeting these challenges, so this October, DOT and the White House Office of Public Engagement will host a Champions of Change event focused on “Beyond Traffic: Innovators in Transportation for the Future.”
I invite you to help us recognize the champions who are making it all possible...
The mission of the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, New York, is to educate and graduate licensed merchant mariners and leaders of exemplary character to serve America’s marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war. Academy leadership, faculty, and staff are renowned for their commitment to this mission —and also for going beyond this mission to increase the quality of life for all Americans.
This commitment is on full display through USMMA’s ongoing involvement with the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. Since 2006, Kings Pointers have participated in the foundation’s Guide Dog Raising Program.
Each year, two midshipmen are selected to raise loving service dogs to aid visually impaired Americans in their everyday lives. Alongside their studies and training, the midshipmen diligently train and care for a 5-7 week old puppy until it becomes 12 to 18 months old. Following this, they return the dog to the foundation to begin its new career as a guide dog...
We’ve been talking a lot here lately —and with good reason— about the pressing need to rebuild and renew America's transportation system. Recent Fast Lane posts have emphasized the need for Congress to act on a long-term transportation bill that boosts investment in roads, bridges, and transit. And just yesterday, with the Highway Trust Fund running low and current transportation law set to expire, Secretary Foxx sent a letter to State DOT officials advising them of the impending deadline and its painful implications.
Often overlooked in this discussion, however, are America's counties.
If we want to improve the safety and resilience of our nation's roads, we can’t draw the line at Interstate highways, U.S. highways, or State highways; we must include America's County roads...
Today, I joined Secretary Foxx at the official opening of Charlotte’s new CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar. When we cut the ceremonial ribbon, we helped kick off the 1.5-mile first phase of what will be a 10-mile line that connects people to much of what this growing city has to offer.
Residents of Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city, already benefit from light rail, but the streetcar will go deep into the central business district and provide a new way for people to access health care centers, universities, city services and scores of retail establishments.
Its value as a connector increases countless times by intersecting with the LYNX Blue Line light rail and 70 – that’s right, 70! – bus routes. The project offers another public transportation choice in an area of high transit use and lessens the need for cars in the center of the city...
Last Thursday, I wrote here in the Fast Lane, that --because the current transportation law is due to expire on July 31-- we would have to suspend all reimbursements to States for road, bridge, and transit work on August 1, unless Congress acts in the 17 days before the law expires.
I also noted that, because the trust fund's highway account is rapidly running out of money, an extension of transportation authority won't buy us much time at all because we will have to implement cash management protocols next month. Again, unless Congress adds new revenue.
This morning, we sent letters to the 50 State DOTs, 5 Territorial DOTs, and the Washington, DC, DOT advising them of those impending measures...
This year marks the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the 50th anniversary of Medicare. But rather than looking backward, the 2015 White House Conference on Aging being held today has been examining the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans in future decades.
Because the White House conference was such a packed house, DOT is joining the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in hosting a watch party for the many Federal agencies whose missions include helping older Americans.
Acting FTA Administrator Therese McMillan speaks on transportation and an aging population.
Every day, nearly 10,000 Americans turn 65. By 2045, the number of Americans over age 65 will have increased by 77 percent. That is no small drop in the demographic bucket; it is a seismic shift and one that has our full attention...
The Connect Historic Boston project got its official start last Friday with a groundbreaking that included DOT's Undersecretary for Policy Peter Rogoff and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
The public ceremony had a much longer guest list, however, because Connect Historic Boston would not be possible without the collaboration of the Federal Highway Administration, the Massachusetts DOT, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the City of Boston's Public Works Department, the National Park Service, and many others groups. That long list of partners --and the improvements the project will make to America's oldest functioning street network-- helps make it exactly the kind of innovative undertaking that DOT's TIGER grant program was designed to support.
Which is why our $15.5 million TIGER award is making possible this $23 million effort to improve bicycle and pedestrian access to downtown Boston and its treasure of American history...
If America's small businesses are the engines of job creation, then the Federal government has been providing those engines a good supply of fuel. This year, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has given another “A” rating to the federal government for awarding almost 25 percent of its contracts to small businesses.
Here at DOT, we've made supporting small and disadvantaged businesses a top priority. So it's no surprise that --in conjunction with Secretary Foxx’s Ladders of Opportunity initiative-- DOT alone awarded almost double the federal average in Fiscal Year 2014. For the year, almost 45 percent of our procurement contracts went to small businesses.
DOT's OSDBU team
DOT's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) was instrumental in this achievement by providing a range of support to help small businesses compete for these contracts...
In June, we published graphs showing past balances and projected balances for the two Highway Trust Fund accounts, the Highways Account and the Mass Transit Account. Those graphs showed the Highways Account balance quickly approaching zero with the Mass Transit Account balance not far behind.
A month later, we've updated the data for both accounts to reflect June's activity. I'm sorry to report that the situation has not really changed, and both accounts are dwindling fast. In fact, we're nearing the threshold for the Highways Account where we have to institute cash management procedures...
Today we released a set of Fact Sheets showing the condition of transportation in all 50 states. It's not a pretty picture.
Grim data from just one of the 50 fact sheets DOT released today.
A nation's infrastructure is its economic backbone. And you don't need a history book to know that a big part of America's success has long been our willingness to invest in our transportation system. In return, our ability to get supplies to manufacturers, goods to market, and people where they need to go has helped us thrive.
But we've been investing in that ability less and less. And, as our willingness to invest has declined and transportation spending has decreased, it's no coincidence that —more and more— Americans in every state are experiencing the frustration of poor road conditions and congestion.