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One of the most important jobs we have at DOT is to make sure rural Americans are connected --to each other; to schools, jobs, and medical care; to the 21st century global economy.  

Freight transportation, for example, is a huge concern for rural communities.  Farmers can't get their crops to market without it.  And with margins as tight as they are, the cost of that transportation can determine whether their crops are profitable.

And it’s not just freight transportation that makes a difference in the lives of rural Americans. When you're separated from your neighbors or the nearest town by miles, personal transportation matters.  Rural communities are often transit deserts, where those who can't drive are isolated from the basics --like groceries and doctors-- and from opportunities --like jobs and schools.

That’s why DOT sent GROW AMERICA, a long-term transportation bill that includes funding solutions for rural concerns, to Congress...

Rural road, South Carolina

Continue Reading Let's keep rural ››
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With another school year coming to a close, I want to talk about America's students. As Secretary, I regularly meet bright, eager young people --from grade school to college-- who are passionate, resourceful, and ready to contribute to our society.  However, opportunities to gain the skills needed for jobs that pay good wages are too often elusive.

Consider these numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: in July 2014, only 51.9 percent of the young men and women (ages 16-24) were employed. That's a steep drop from the 58.3 percent who were employed ten years ago.  For youth from communities of color, the numbers are worse: Only 39.8 percent of African American youth and 47 percent of Hispanic youth had jobs in July 2014.

I believe we have a responsibility to do something about this.  And I believe transportation can play an important role in improving the employment landscape for young people nationwide.  So last month, I met with 20 transportation executives from across the country to discuss how we can introduce students between the ages of 16 and 20 to careers in transportation.

Ladders logo

Continue Reading Youth, transportation ››
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Today the Federal Aviation Administration released our Draft Environmental Assessment for the Southern California Metroplex project.  This project will replace dozens of existing conventional air traffic procedures with new, more precise satellite-based procedures.

These procedures are a key component of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen.  Nationally, the NextGen evolution from ground-based air traffic control to a satellite-based system improves safety, efficiency, fuel savings, and emissions.

From reduced fuel burn and emissions in Seattle and Denver, increased throughput in Louisville and Atlanta, and digital controller-to-pilot communications in Newark and Memphis, we’re already delivering those benefits to cities across the U.S.

Now we’re ready to bring some of these benefits to those flying into and out of the busy airspace of Southern California...

SoCal Metroplex Map

Continue Reading FAA welcomes input on ››
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This morning in the Fast Lane, Secretary Foxx reiterated the warning of our Beyond Traffic draft 30-year transportation forecast: “A tidal wave is coming for us in transportation, a wave of people and freight….Our infrastructure system, which struggles to meet its current challenges, won't be able to ride the coming wave.  Especially when you consider today's transportation funding situation.”

Fortunately, many communities across the U.S. —like those in our Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets— have embraced an approach that reduces roadway congestion and stretches our transportation dollars: bicycle infrastructure.  Even better, improving bicycle infrastructure boosts economic growth...

NYC Columbus Ave

Continue Reading Cities adopting bike ››
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We talk a lot about Metropolitan Planning Organizations here in the Fast Lane.  Congress created MPOs to make sure that transportation projects and programs that use Federal dollars are based on a broad planning process that considers a wide range of interests.

I sat on my local Metropolitan Planning Organization back in Charlotte. I know how grueling the day-to-day work can be; you're dealing with a thousand stakeholders, planning and shepherding projects --sometimes at a maddeningly slow pace-- from lines on a blueprint to steel and concrete in the ground.  But it's also rewarding work because MPOs connect people to the opportunities their region offers.

You see, the work of transportation is not just connecting people to each other; it's also the work of expanding opportunity, of giving people access to a better life.

Unfortunately, as I told the National Association of Regional Councils yesterday, the work MPOs have been doing since Congress mandated them in 1962 is getting more and more difficult...

NARC 2015

Continue Reading NARC, MPOs ready to create ››
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Apparently, President Calvin Coolidge was not an early fan of aviation.  However, once he came to see the value of aviation to the Nation, he was instrumental in getting through Congress the first legislation to establish a Federal aviation policy.  He signed the Air Commerce Act of 1926, determining the course of aviation regulation to this day, and the U.S. has been bullish on aviation ever since.

Today, the White House, DOT, and the Federal Aviation Administration all recognize how important aviation has been and how important it will be in the years ahead.  So it was a pleasure to meet with members of the International Air Transport Association this morning in Miami and help celebrate IATA's 70th anniversary...

Curtiss biplane

Continue Reading IATA helps keep the world ››
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It's not uncommon, while facing the challenges of winter, to look forward to the warmer weather promised by spring.  But, as readers know from news reports, this spring has provided severe challenges of its own.  In several states, heavy rains and flooding have taken lives, destroyed homes and property, and damaged roads.

In the two weeks between May 21 and June 3 alone, the Federal Highway Administration made available $11 million in Emergency Relief funds for flood-damaged roads in four states.

When disaster strikes, it's crucial to get roads reopened so emergency crews can get access into stricken communities and people from those communities can get access to shelter, medical care, and necessary supplies.  This spring, road crews in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, and Alaska have worked hard to keep communities connected, and we appreciate their efforts...

Oklahoma road repairs

Continue Reading DOT steps in with FHWA ››
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Each year, hundreds of heavy-duty vehicle drivers are killed and thousands injured in rollover crashes.  Fortunately, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) technology is available to prevent a large percentage of these crashes.  And our nation's commercial truck and bus drivers as well as bus passengers deserve the protection ESC offers.

That's why, since 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board --an independent Federal safety agency-- has recommended that ESC be required on all new trucks and buses. It's also why, in 2012, Congress directed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to consider an ESC requirement.

And earlier this week, NHTSA finalized its rule requiring ESC systems on new heavy trucks and large buses.  NHTSA estimates the rule will prevent as many as 1,759 crashes, 649 injuries, and 49 fatalities each year...

Truck in rollover testing

Continue Reading NTHSA rule on Electronic ››
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Mobile, Alabama, has one of the largest, most productive ports in the country –a port that is pumping billions of dollars into Alabama’s economy every year.  The Port of Mobile has a container terminal linked up with five railroads, two highways, and 15,000 miles of waterways.  An Airbus facility being built nearby --specifically for port access-- will open this year, and hire about 1,000 people.

Mobile is not alone in enjoying the benefits of a major port. According to a recent study, America’s seaports generated $4.6 trillion in total economic activity and supported 23 million jobs in 2014. That's up 43 percent since 2007 and accounts for 26 percent of the nation’s $17.4 trillion economy.

Which sounds like good news. But alarmingly, a survey entitled The State of Freight, released the same day by the Association of American Port Authorities identified a current need of $29 billion in port infrastructure investment just to be able to handle projected freight volumes in 2025. The survey also identified great need for investment in intermodal connectors, with 80 percent of ports needing at least $10 million in investment and 30 percent needing at least $100 million...

Port of Mobile

Continue Reading To unleash American ports, ››
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Drunk driving takes a life every 58 minutes in America. But it doesn’t have to be this way. And soon, we might have a technology that essentially takes the keys out of drunk drivers’ hands before they can hurt or kill our neighbors and loved ones.

It’s called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS, and it’s designed to stop drunk driving in its tracks.

When installed in a vehicle, the system will instantly and accurately detect if a driver is above the legal alcohol limit and will prevent the vehicle from moving.  With 10,076 people lost to drunk driving in 2013, you can understand why everyone at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is excited about the possibility of bringing this technology to our nation's cars and trucks...

DADSS display table

Continue Reading DADSS technology offers big ››
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