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By 2045, our nation will need to accommodate the 70 million more people that will be added to our population. Knowing this, we must prepare for a nation with growing needs for food, goods, commerce, defense, and energy.  These needs mean our national freight system will have to move 14 billion more tons of freight each year, and 4 billion tons of that freight will sourced internationally and move through America’s ports.

You can imagine, then, the importance of facilities like the Port of Virginia in Norfolk, the only port on the U.S. East Coast currently capable of handling the latest 13,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) vessels.  These super-sized ships are the vessels of the near future --a future that will feature a widened Panama Canal-- and these vessels are capable of carrying many times more freight than ships currently passing through the Canal. 

Yesterday, at the Port of Virginia, we celebrated the groundbreaking of two projects that will improve access, safety, and efficiency, allowing the Port to manage the anticipated increases in vessel size and cargo tonnage more effectively...

Port of Virginia groundbreaking
Click on the image to watch video of the groundbreaking from The Daily Press
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As part of a whirlwind stay in New York City, I met yesterday with students and faculty at New York University's Rudin Center for Transportation, and this morning I spoke with folks at New York MOVES, a transportation conference.

In both places, I was fortunate to find people who understand that ensuring safe mobility is a key factor in improving social mobility. The Rudin Center, for example, recently published a report indicating that, "an individual’s ability to access a job is largely a function of how well their neighborhood is served by the public transportation system."

This is something that’s been on my mind a lot. In my last post here, I wrote about how as a country we need to re-locate the resolve to complete this generation’s major projects like the Gateway tunnels. But the challenges we face run even deeper. We also have to look for ways to undo flaws in how 20th century infrastructure was designed.

Historically, we have valued throughput while placing less thought on the actual places in between...

Secretary Foxx at NYU's Rudin Center
Continue Reading Safe Mobility supports ››
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Yesterday, anticipating the second day of the New York Times Cities For Tomorrow conference, @mslynnross tweeted, "Looking forward to action-packed Day 2 at #NYTCFT...." And in my reply, I had to wonder whether I could deliver on that expectation.

It might not fit everyone's definition of "action-packed," but there was a lot of pretty lively discussion at Cities For Tomorrow, and later in the day when I met students and faculty at New York University's Rudin Center for Transportation...and again earlier this morning at New York MOVES.

You see, New York's residents, officials, and planners are having a real conversation about transportation, and they're talking about three things that I've been talking about with people across the country: the need to reverse our infrastructure deficit, the need to use transportation to connect people and not to separate them, and the need to protect everyone who uses our streets --including bicyclists and pedestrians.

For now, I just want to talk about one of them...

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From mass transit projects to new highways, bridges, sidewalks and hiker/biker trails, effectively addressing transportation needs in communities across the nation shares one common foundation —good planning.

RenoLast week, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced recipients of the biennial 2015 Transportation Planning Excellence Awards to local leaders who are sponsoring forward-thinking transportation projects that deliver lasting benefits to the public.

From Roanoke, Virginia, to Mt. Hood, Oregon, we selected eight projects based on their successes in forging partnerships in the community and developing creative, effective solutions with long-term benefits. Each project also addresses more than one form of transportation...

Continue Reading Meet the Best of the Best ››
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Whether you're a close watcher of the industry or not, you've probably been hearing more lately about public-private partnerships in transportation.  And, chances are that you'll be hearing more about them in the near future.

This nation is facing an infrastructure deficit.  Yet we know that our country is growing –and that we’re going to have more people accessing our roads, rails, and airports than ever before.  And more freight to move than ever before.

This creates an environment where, rather than having a single strategy, we need to have an all-of-the-above strategy. This is where the concept of public-private partnerships – or P3s plays in...

Eagle P3 construction work

Continue Reading P3s Another Valuable Tool ››
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Last week, The Washington Post published an article echoing one of the themes Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has emphasized for the past two years: how the roads and rails built decades ago divide many American cities along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines.

As the Post's Emily Badger wrote --and Darla Cameron supported with powerful infographics-- "Look at racial maps of many American cities, and stark boundaries between neighboring black and white communities frequently denote an impassable railroad or highway, or a historically uncrossable avenue."

Secretary Foxx's remarks last week from Charlotte, North Carolina, a city he knows well and where he himself experienced this geographic separation from the commercial and educational opportunities of Greater Charlotte, illustrate the point very clearly...

Continue Reading Undoing Transportation ››
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The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) National Bridge Inspection Program (NBIP) has helped ensure the safety of America’s bridges for more than three decades.  But our nation’s highway tunnels have never benefited from a similar oversight program.  That changed last week, when FHWA launched a tunnel inspection program modeled after the NBIP.

This unprecedented effort is all about FHWA’s top priority, making our roads safer.  

The National Tunnel Inspection Standards (NTIS) final rule, published in the Federal Register on July 14, will serve as the foundation of the nation’s first standardized tunnel inspection program.   We know that using national standards will help maintain a high level of quality and consistency in tunnel inspections across the country...

Tunnel inspection work

Continue Reading FHWA Unveils New Tunnel ››
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When you call 911 in an emergency, you expect responders to be able to find you. That the system might stumble trying to translate your address into the geospatial coordinates doesn't occur to you for even a moment.  Nor should it.

A complete, current, and accurate address list including street number, street name, city --as well as less commonly used information like Latitude/Longitude, GML point geometry, and spatial reference system-- with associated metadata is essential for a variety of government and non-government functions, including emergency response, conducting the Census, income tax collection, delivering the mail, planning, routing, and many others.

But currently, many agencies and organizations either collect, purchase, or lease address information in an uncoordinated fashion. To date, there has been no national database of address points in the public domain, and that's why, last April, DOT hosted the National Address Database Summit...

Map with geo data

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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...

Champions logo

Continue Reading Seeking Innovators for 2015 ››
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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...

Two Kings Pointers with service animals in training

Continue Reading Kings Point Midshipmen ››
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