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One of Transportation Secretary Foxx’s greatest priorities is making sure that, while strengthening our country’s infrastructure, we also ensure that the rungs on the Ladders of Opportunity aren't so far apart and that transportation infrastructure projects create opportunities for a broad range of Americans.  That includes America's small businesses.

The success of Sharon Douglas, a small business owner in Fort Worth serves as a great example of why creating those opportunities is important for our Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) and for our country.

In 2011 Sharon Douglas, owner of Bradley Douglas Construction Company, was looking to grow her business so she could bid more effectively on bigger projects, but she simply lacked the resources to make it happen.

Now, through her involvement with DOT’s Gulf Region Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC) over the last 4 years, Sharon has increased her company’s bonding capacity by 400 percent, from $1,000,000 to $ 5,000,000...

At the Texas small business day
Sharon Douglas, Lauren Adedokun, Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez and Tony Arps of the Gulf SBTRC
Continue Reading With help from DOT, Bradley ››
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The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) turns 80 tomorrow, and this octogenarian is still going strong. The secret of its vitality? The MUTCD remains active by helping the rest of us get to where we need to go safely and efficiently.

The TCD in MUTCD -- “traffic control devices” -- refers to all of the signs, signals, pavement markings, and other features that communicate with drivers all along America’s road system. From city streets to interstate highways, and covering a variety of shared-use facilities, this system moves the U.S. economy forward and gives us all a key freedom that has become part of the American ethos: mobility.  The MUTCD doesn’t simply promote the mobility of goods and services; its guidelines and standardization help drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians get where they're going and get there safely –no matter what part of the country they're in...

80th anniversary of M.U.T.C.D.

Continue Reading Happy Birthday to the MUTCD! ››
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The Port of Hueneme is thrilled to be awarded its first-ever U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant. The $12.3 million grant award provides critical funding for capital improvements including, deepening berths, strengthening our wharfs, modernizing our cargo infrastructure and building on-dock rail connections. The approximate balance of $12.2 million in project costs comes from port financing, private-sector dollars, and secured grants.

Specifically, this TIGER grant funds a crucial component of the Port of Hueneme’s Intermodal Improvement Project, which will allow for larger-capacity vessels, increased cold storage and cargo treatment and handling capability to support increased agricultural imports and exports, as well as implementing on-dock rail improvements that will allow for more efficient transfer of cargo.

Cargo activities at Port of Hueneme create $1.1 billion a year in economic return to the community, generate $69 million in state and local taxes and sustains over 10,200 area jobs. This project promises to strengthen the port’s asset utilization, enhance productivity, respond to customer demand, support growing import and export cargo flows, improve air quality and reduce regional congestion by offering efficient modal options...

Vessel in Port of Hueneme

Continue Reading TIGER Grants Help U.S. ››
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Throughout September and October, DOT leaders and local officials co-hosted a series of town-hall-style forums on the future of transportation in each of the 11 megaregions identified by our Beyond Traffic study.  And last week, I had the privilege of wrapping-up that tour in Denver.

Through the course of our Beyond Traffic Megaregion Forums, we have been able to engage more than 1,500 participants in a nationwide conversation about the challenges facing local, regional, and national transportation networks and --more importantly-- about possible solutions to those challenges.

Secretary Foxx speaking

In February, we published our Beyond Traffic study as a draft framework for the future of transportation. And we asked just about everyone we could reach --transportation planners and practitioners, elected officials, community leaders, the general public, and, yes, Fast Lane readers!-- to read it and tell us what they thought.  What trends and challenges did we overlook? What ideas and innovations haven't we included?  How can we sustain a safe, effective transportation system in 2045 when our current system is already so stressed and we’re only going to add millions more people over the next three decades?

Since then, the study has been downloaded 435,000 times.  It has transformed this Department’s attitude toward transportation’s future, and --with hundreds of comments-- it has indeed spurred the national dialog we sought.

Taking our study on the road to the 11 megaregions deepened that dialog.  DOT leaders fanned out, traveling far and wide all over the United States to areas like the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast that are projected to see major growth by 2045.  And they listened...

Continue Reading After 11 Beyond Traffic ››
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In 1789, our nation’s very first Congress passed legislation to encourage growth and activity for U.S. shipbuilders and use of American ships. To do this, they enacted a 10 percent tariff rebate to all imports and exports shipped on American-made vessels.

Why were American shipbuilders and ships such a high priority that Congress would go out of its way to boost domestic shipbuilding activity?

With the world’s largest oceans at our coasts and the planet’s biggest freshwater lakes on our northern border, being able to build and maintain our own ships meant independence. Shipbuilding meant having the freedom to trade with whoever we wanted, whenever we wanted. It meant that we could defend our coasts, hold our own on the oceans, and support our allies overseas. And shipbuilding meant jobs for thousands of hardworking Americans in our fledgling nation.

The situation 226 years later isn't much different. Everything that shipbuilding meant in 1789, it still means today.

Great Lakes Shipyard

American shipbuilders ensure that our nation can build and maintain the vessels our military needs to keep our nation secure. They also provide essential commercial vessels. Vessels that enable domestic commerce on our inland waterways and link our domestic energy supply chains. In 2013, U.S. shipbuilders directly employed 110 thousand Americans nationwide and produced $37.3 billion in gross domestic product.

That’s according to the Maritime Administration's 2015 Shipbuilding Economic Impact Study, a current look at the industry that MARAD Administrator Chip Jaenichen and I released yesterday...

Continue Reading American shipbuilding ››
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By now many Americans are familiar with the Takata air bag recall, which involves 12 vehicle manufacturers and approximately 19 million vehicles. Tragically, the inflators used in these air bags can explode or rupture and hurtle jagged metal fragments at vehicle passengers. Seven people have been killed and nearly 100 injured in the United States.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s first concern is the safety of the public, which is why, today, NHTSA has taken further action to protect Americans most at-risk, to halt production of similar air bags and prepare for their recall unless they are proven safe, and to hold Takata accountable for failing to abide by the law that protects Americans from unsafe vehicles...

Crash-test dummy with exploding airbag and schrapnel

Continue Reading Takata Air Bag Update: ››
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In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DOT has launched a new online Transportation and Health Tool.

This tool provides a single site for transportation decision-makers, health officials, and the public to understand how state and local transportation options and performance affect health outcomes. The site will also offer data on how states and communities are performing in comparison to their peers on a range of health-related transportation indicators.

T.H.T. bar indicator for State of Maryland
This bar situates the State of Maryland above the 75th percentile for transportation/health performance.

For example, walking and bicycling are two healthy transportation alternatives, and the tool lets users see what percentage of people are using these methods to get around. Transportation also has a major impact on air quality, so the tool includes indicators that relate to how much people drive and how close people live to roads with heavy traffic. Many other indicators in the tool give policy makers an immediate understanding of the important relationships between transportation investments and health.

Continue Reading New Online Tool Promotes ››
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The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced that the City of Birmingham will receive a $20 million TIGER grant for an estimated $40 million project to extend bus service to some of our most vulnerable communities. The project is one of 39 transportation projects in 34 states selected to receive funding from TIGER 2015.

I am proud to have worked closely with the Department on this critically important project. Birmingham is a city on the rise, and this project will support our efforts to improve our public transportation and revitalize the Magic City...

Birmingham MAX transit bus

Continue Reading Birmingham transit system ››
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Volpe, the National Transportation Systems Center's Beyond Traffic 2045 speaker series continues this Thursday, November 5, as MIT's John Heywood talks about promising options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In September, Secretary Foxx and Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Gregory Winfree launched Volpe's Beyond Traffic 2045: Reimagining Transportation speaker series. And last month, we posted video of the first talk by MIT's Andrew McAfee.

Today, we've got the next video from the series, a talk by Edward Bolton, assistant administrator for the Department's Next Generation Air Transportation System --or NextGen...

Continue Reading Volpe Center's Beyond ››
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America's trucking community, the men and women who travel our nation's highways carrying the goods that fuel our economy and support our daily life, know that safe truck parking is a necessity. They also know it's not easy to find.  With a little help from TIGER, we're hoping to change that. 

Nearly six million commercial motor vehicle drivers are out on our roads each day, a number that is expected to increase dramatically by 2045.  That’s why --in one of our most innovative TIGER grants ever-- DOT awarded $25 million to the Regional Truck Parking Information and Management System (TPIMS). 

The Kansas Department of Transportation is the lead in this, but the important regional project includes seven other states: Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  Funding will help selected key freight interstates in the region get parking information to truckers, who can then plan safe rest stops...

road sign indicating upcoming truck parking availability

Continue Reading One TIGER grant, improved ››
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