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It is not news to Fast Lane readers that – come May 31st – federal funding for transportation will expire, right at the start of construction season.

This crisis, our readers know, is not new, either. It’s six years – and 32-short term funding measures – in the making.

On top of that, for more than a decade now, federal transportation funding has been stuck at a level below what is needed to merely keep the transportation infrastructure we have in good shape.

Well, on Monday, I met with the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) Cities of Opportunity Task Force: two dozen mayors who, like us, want to see real change happen in transportation.

From left: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh at a Cities of Opportunity Task Force meeting in Boston. Courtesy of U.S. Conference of Mayors/@usmayors.

Led by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the task force was asked by USCM President Kevin Johnson to find ways to reduce income inequality in America’s cities and metros. To do this, Johnson has said, requires building a “community and economy that works for everyone.” And to do that, we know, requires cities to invest in transportation systems that leave no one behind. 

Continue Reading Mayors Urge Congress to Go ››
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Yesterday, I moderated a panel discussion of business leaders and policy wonks, including my friend, Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado.

The venue? The Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA Conference.

The topic of discussion? How to bring more private sector dollars to America’s streets – and also bridges, waterways, airports, subways, and rails.

This is a photo of Secretary Foxx at the Department of Commerce SelectUSA conference

Fastlane readers know that our transportation system is screaming for more investment. The United States is on track to underinvest in transportation by about one trillion dollars by the end of the decade, and this is happening at a time when demand for transportation is increasing. America will be home to 70 million more people by 2045, and we will have to move 45 percent more freight.

Continue Reading Taking Private-Sector ››
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Spring means warmer weather, orange cones and more highway workers on America’s roads. As construction season approaches, drivers nationwide should “Expect the Unexpected” – this year’s theme for National Work Zone Awareness Week. The victims of work zone crashes are typically drivers and their passengers, not highway workers, but all need to be kept safe during the construction and repair-heavy summer months.

I had the opportunity to speak to families affected by work zone crashes today at the National Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff in Arlington, Va. Though the number of work zone fatalities is decreasing, it was heart wrenching to acknowledge that, each year, we are still losing loved ones in work zone crashes.

Continue Reading In Our Nation’s Work Zones ››
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Last week, the venerable news outlet, The Onion, wrote that, "Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx reportedly became consumed with fear Tuesday that the American populace might suddenly decide not to travel anywhere ever again."

Well we at USDOT can reassure you that "America's finest news source," as The Onion bills itself, was only half-right.

While it's true that Secretary Foxx is concerned about the American people traveling in the future, none of us at USDOT are worried they might decide not to travel. Instead, we are worried about how Americans are going to get where they need to go when we do travel.

That's why we launched our study, "Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices," which examines the challenges we'll face in the next 30 years. And that's why we've invited you to share your ideas for solving those challenges and keeping our country moving forward.

Continue Reading The Onion gets it half- ››
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Do you have what it takes to join our team?  Starting Monday, March 23, the Federal Aviation Administration will start accepting applications for new Air Traffic Controllers to fill positions across the United States through at least March 28, 2015.

The Air Traffic Control Specialist’s job isn’t just any other day in the office. It's a career where you’ll have the chance to save lives through proactive approaches to aviation safety. You’ll also operate new procedures that enhance efficiency and emissions, which help protect our environment.

This is the most exciting time in FAA’s history.  We operate the busiest and most complex airspace system in the world, and decisions we’re making today will shape aviation for decades to come...

Photo of air traffic controller at work

Continue Reading FAA Hiring Air Traffic ››
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When parents buckle their children into car seats they need to trust that their seat will protect as promised. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fights to keep car seats and other products with safety-related defects off our nation's roads.

Today, we’ve acted again to fine a company that failed to report a safety-related defect to NHTSA as required by law. And we’re doing so in a way that doesn’t just punish bad behavior, but also makes American children safer...

Photo of Graco child safety seat

Continue Reading In Graco case, NHTSA uses ››
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Yesterday, I sat down with my friend, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, at the National Journal’s Forum on infrastructure.

Here in Washington, DC, you don’t often see a duo like us –a Democratic member of the Cabinet, and a Republican member of Congress– on the same stage, let alone on the same side of an issue.  But crisis has a way of bringing people together, and a crisis is what we have...

Photo of Foxx, Shuster from National Journal infrastructure event
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (left), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (center), and moderator Steve Clemons appeared at a National Journal infrastructure event March 19. Courtesy of Kristoffer Tripplaar / National Journal.
Continue Reading A partner in the ››
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This week, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics --part of our Office of Research and Technology-- released the 2014 North American freight numbers.

As often happens with transportation data, there are many different stories emerging from the BTS spreadsheets. But, one story rings out loud and clear: A lot of freight --$1.2 trillion worth in 2014-- is moving into and out of the U.S. across our northern and southern borders...

Pie chart depicting frieght value by mode of transportation

Continue Reading North American freight data ››
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With our nation’s population expected to expand by 70 million over the next 30 years, our ability to move people and goods will be challenged as we've never seen before. This is just one of the trends anticipated in Beyond Traffic, our outline of the choices confronting our transportation system in the next three decades.

For example, Jacksonville, Florida, is the most populous city in Florida and one of the most populous in the U.S.  And, it’s growing.  The city is also home to several U.S. Navy facilities, as well as a large community of retired veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families. As Jacksonville is also the largest city in the U.S. in terms of the area it covers, we can add to its challenges the task of moving people over relatively long urban distances.

One of the solutions Jacksonville is undertaking is Bus Rapid Transit. BRT offers faster, more frequent service by giving buses signal priority, providing passengers with real-time information, and requiring riders to pay their fares at kiosks before boarding...

Photo of Jax BRT

Continue Reading Jacksonville BRT one ››
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Because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is charged with reducing the number and severity of crashes involving large trucks and buses, we continually work to develop and deploy new safety enforcement tools. Ultimately, those tools serve to help protect every traveler on our highways and roads. 

Photo of inspector using QCMobileI’ve observed highly trained commercial motor vehicle inspectors working at roadside weigh stations, and I can attest that it is not always easily and immediately apparent to distinguish by sight alone which trucks and buses and drivers may be operating in violation of our safety regulations. While State and Federal inspectors already use customized software to access national safety databases that help prioritize carriers and drivers for inspections, thanks to the advent of smartphones and cloud computing, we’re now able to make a generational leap in technology.   

Today, we’re unveiling a new app called QCMobile (the "QC" stands for “Query Central”) that provides inspectors --wherever they're working-- more convenient access to motor carrier safety information...

Continue Reading We’ve got an app for that! ››
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