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For nearly ten years, our Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has been reminding you to “Call 8-1-1 before you dig,” and we are not stopping now.

With spring upon most of us, the shovels and post-hole diggers are coming out of garages and sheds across America. But, before you or your contractors break ground to install that fence or dig a new pool, make sure to call the 8-1-1 national hotline to get those buried utility lines safely marked for free.  

And, as DOT promotes April each year as National Safe Digging Month, we’re also proud to announce that this April, we’re awarding more than $1 million in grants to protect communities from digging accidents...

Call 8-1-1 banner

Continue Reading Just in Time for Safe ››
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As predicted the month of March came in like a lion. But for DOT's TIFIA program, it did not go out like a lamb. Late in the month, on March 25, Secretary Foxx announced a TIFIA loan for approximately $194 million to help pay for the construction of the Wekiva Parkway in Orlando. And a week later, he announced a loan for up to $209.3 million to finance the Portsmouth Bypass in Scioto County, Ohio.

DOT's support for these two projects shows a program that stands ready to fill market gaps with supplemental credit so state and local governments, transit agencies, railroad companies, special authorities, special districts, and private entities can get back to the business of building America.

The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) extends loans and credit that projects can then leverage to attract more financing. It's a multiplier so powerful that each dollar of federal funds can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and support up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment.

And in a world of diminished transportation funding, the most recent projects in Orlando and Ohio show that TIFIA can help move projects forward...

Orlando area traffic
Continue Reading DOT flexes TIFIA muscles to ››
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I’m pretty excited about the productive week we've had here at DOT, and I'd like to share that sense of achievement and --more importantly-- promise with Fast Lane readers.

On Monday, we jumped out of the gate by sending a revamped GROW AMERICA Act to Congress. GROW is our legislative proposal for surface transportation that provides six years of funding certainty, increased investment in infrastructure, and smart policies that ensure taxpayers get more bang for their buck and that communities can enjoy the benefits of projects sooner. Experts all agree that America's transportation system needs more than a few potholes filled and bridges repaired. But we also need to start getting ahead of the curve like the world leader we have been since George Washington began supervising construction of a canal along the Potomac River. And GROW will help us do that.

In fact, all of this week's highlights point back to the GROW AMERICA Act...

Continue Reading A good week to GROW on ››
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Today, it is my absolute pleasure to announce the availability of $500 million for DOT's 2015 TIGER grants for innovative transportation projects across the country. 

Over the past six rounds, funds from our Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program have helped launch projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico --many of which would still be on the drawing board without TIGER. The highly competitive program offers one of the only federal funding possibilities for multi-modal projects that often are not suitable for other federal funding sources.

Like its preceding rounds, this seventh round of TIGER will fund projects that create jobs, foster regional partnerships, advance new technologies, spur economic and community development, and strengthen the transportation infrastructure of this great country...

I-20 bridge over Mississippi

Continue Reading DOT welcomes the return of ››
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As Fast Lane readers know, texting offers the benefit of almost instant communication with nearly anyone around the world. But in the time it takes to send or read a text –slightly less than five seconds– a car moving at 55 miles per hour can travel roughly 100 yards. So if you text when behind the wheel, you’re essentially driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed —and possibly causing untold harm to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and yourself.

In 2013 alone, distracted driving claimed 3,154 lives and injured an estimated 424,000. Those deaths and injuries were 100 percent preventable.

That’s why, as part of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we’ve launched our second distracted driving high-visibility enforcement campaign. Thanks to nationwide support from law enforcement agencies, from April 10 to April 15, state and local officers will aggressively ticket drivers who are texting or using their mobile devices when behind the wheel...

Secretary Foxx at Distraction event

Continue Reading ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay.’ ››
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After three months of lock upgrades and maintenance, the annual springtime reopening of the St. Lawrence Seaway System to navigation arrives tomorrow.

Here at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation --and at the Seaway's many ports in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota-- we can't wait to see the shipping traffic the 2015 navigation season brings.

And we're not the only ones, either. After all, the freight moving into and out of the U.S. does much more than keep the ports and Seaway employees busy...

Vessel transits a lock

Continue Reading Ready for business: 2015 St ››
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I do not know who the Secretary of Transportation will be in the year 2045. But 30 years from now, if that person were to go to Michigan and speak at the Detroit Economic Club –as I did yesterday– he or she might be able to tell the audience: 

“Detroit is the new Silicon Valley. You all manufacture a great invention of the 21st century: a car that drives itself. This vehicle has prevented nine out of every ten potential car accidents. No one dies because of drunk driving anymore. And no one has to circle the parking lot again looking for a space.  The thing even parks itself, too.”    

Of course, our Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices study tells us that autonomous vehicles are just one of the many technologies with the potential to revolutionize our transportation system; we have the chance to build a country where mobility is as cheap and plentiful as fast internet and running water. 

And my message to Detroit yesterday was that we can make this vision a reality only if we start thinking about our challenges today...

Secretary Foxx at Detroit Economic Club

Continue Reading Detroit gears up; Motor ››
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I have great admiration for the women who are pioneers in their chosen field. In my years at the Department of Transportation, first with the Federal Aviation Administration and now with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, I have seen many women with a vision succeed in getting things done. It's inspiring to see women break barriers and succeed in non-traditional industries, and I am proud to recognize them during Women’s History Month.

I'm also excited about my ride-along with Women In Trucking this week and about having the opportunity to see firsthand how women –vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts– navigate the challenges they face at loading docks, on the roadways, at safety inspection sites, at truck stops, and in the maintenance yard...

FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson (left) preparing to join U.S. Xpress truck driver Angela Jordan
FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson (left) preparing to join U.S. Xpress truck driver Angela Jordan, who has been a professional truck driver for 20 years and is approaching 2 million miles of safe driving. Photo courtesy Duane DeBruyne, FMCSA.
Continue Reading Women in the big rig driver ››
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In his Presidential Proclamation marking Women's History Month, President Obama reminded us that March will recognize the "countless pioneering women who have called not only for the absence of oppression, but for the presence of opportunity."  So it was no coincidence last week that the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) hosted the 7th annual Women on the Water (WOW) Conference in Kings Point, NY.

This three-day event brought together female mariners --from Midshipmen and cadets to captains-- to learn about exciting maritime careers, discuss the transition from academy to industry, and discover a variety of professional development opportunities. 

As I delivered the opening remarks and welcomed guests from State Maritime Academies and other maritime organizations across the nation, I was a first-hand witness to the future leaders whose success will honor the women who came before them and widen the path for all who follow...

MARAD Administrator Chip Jaenichen and participants at WOW event.

Continue Reading Women on the Water: Leading ››
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Today, Congress has one new message in their inbox – and it is marked urgent: A new and improved GROW AMERICA act awaits their review.

America is in the midst of a growth spurt, and the problem is: our roads, rails, and transit systems do not automatically grow along with our country.

Continue Reading One New Message in Congress ››
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