It is one of this Department's most special assets, and perhaps our most unsung. I'm talking about the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system --particularly the U.S. locks I had the pleasure and privilege of visiting yesterday.
If bundled together, the eight states and two Canadian provinces that share this system would comprise the world's third largest economy, behind only the U.S. and China. The bi-national Seaway is a vital, environmentally sustainable artery for trade into and out of the United States and Canada, supporting $34.6 billion of economic activity, providing America's Opportunity Belt with access to world markets, and supporting and 227,000 jobs. The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), which maintains and operates the two U.S. locks, delivers plenty of return value on America's investment in the Seaway.
I went to Massena, NY, yesterday to join SLSDC Administrator Betty Sutton in honoring local emergency responders and the men and women of the SLSDC. When the cruise ship Saint Laurent struck a bumper at the Eisenhower Lock, their quick and effective response ensured that passengers were able to receive the medical care they needed and the vessel itself was able to resume service in less than 48 hours...
Yesterday Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta and I announced the Department's new approach to creating a culture of accountability and responsibility among the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) community. As you might have heard, that approach will involve registering UAS.
This simple, common-sense approach has already garnered a lot of support in the community, including UAS associations, manufacturers of UAS technology, and for-profit UAS operators.
While we are committed to recognizing the potential of new technologies, we are obligated by the increasing volume of unsafe UAS activity to establish ground rules for safe UAS integration into our national transportation system...
Receiving a driver’s license has been a rite of passage for American teens for generations. NHTSA urges parents to add a new tradition to this special moment—a discussion of the ‘5 to Drive’: the five rules to discuss with teens before handing the car keys to the family’s newest driver.
While many new drivers take this responsibility seriously, far too many teens are overconfident, inexperienced, and taking deadly risks behind the wheel. They drive too fast, while distracted by an electronic device or too many passengers, without wearing seat belts, and even while drunk despite not being able to drink legally anywhere in the United States. These factors were among the reasons that we lost 2,839 teen drivers (ages 15 to 19) in 2013 alone.
The 5 to Drive campaign is about helping parents send their young drivers a clear message that breaking any one of these five rules when driving means no driving at all. We’re again reminding parents as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs October 18 to 24, to discuss the five rules for safer teen driving with their teens...
I was honored this past week to participate in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Boston forum on Beyond Traffic with many of my Northeast regional colleagues who are committed to solving the transportation challenges our urban cities face. We know the path ahead will require collaboration and innovation, as well as significant investment.
DOT Under Secretary for Policy Peter Rogoff (left) with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh; photo courtesy @marty_walsh.
I grew up in what some might call a multi-modal transportation environment, in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. It was not a car-dependent community. We could walk to the store, to church, to a friend’s house, or a park. We could ride our bikes to school or to Boston Harbor. We could get on a subway train or a bus and go to work, almost anywhere in Greater Boston. And if you did have a car, you could drive downtown or get onto an interstate highway in a matter of minutes.
In many ways that freedom of movement is what made it a strong community -tightly knit and human scaled, but at the same time fully connected to the wider world of jobs, amenities, and culture. Today, that’s the main reason homes in urban neighborhoods are in such unbelievable demand.
Today we have a lot of work to do to find that balance across all our communities, as we adapt to an ever-changing economy. It’s going to take both direct action and close collaboration at every level: federal, state, and local; public and private sector...
This Press Conference streamed live on October 19, 2015.
Over the weekend this Department released a National Freight Strategic Plan that we hope will wake the country up and get us moving forward.
Our freight network has been one of the great strengths of our country. Millions of Americans wake up in the morning and go to jobs operating trucks, trains, aircraft, ships, and barges. Freight directly supports 44 million jobs.
And our freight workers do more than ensure goods move successfully from one point to another. What they really do is move our economy. Because the cost of moving goods in America is one of the lowest in the world, the jobs these men and women do give us a competitive advantage over other nations.
Our freight infrastructure should be as good as our workers are, as our businesses are. But it’s not. It’s crumbling. And, we're making matters worse by continuing to underinvest.
It's time for this generation to shoulder the burden, face our transportation challenges, and keep improving our Nation's freight network...
When we issued our draft report, Beyond Traffic, we started a conversation on the trends and choices facing the Nation’s transportation infrastructure over the next three decades. The report outlines a number of challenges –an anticipated 70 million more Americans by 2045, a 45 percent increase in freight volume, frequent extreme weather events-- and predicts nationwide gridlock unless we act soon to manage those challenges.
On Tuesday, I was pleased to honor as White House Champions of Change in Transportation 11 individuals whose innovative efforts have helped us do exactly that.
These Champions from across the country, various modes of transportation, and unique backgrounds have demonstrated exemplary leadership and creativity. Their work has led to the kinds of innovative solutions required to usher in a 21st Century American transportation system that is safe, effective, and accessible...
You might not expect the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to write about what her agency is doing to help more people join the middle class, but that is exactly what I’m about to do. With safety oversight and regulatory support from FMCSA, trucking connects people to opportunity.
Last month, I was honored to speak at the Women in Trucking conference in Dallas about the important issue of connecting people in all communities to economic opportunities. I met so many women there who were involved in all facets of the trucking industry –from fleet owners, to drivers, to logistics and marketing professionals.
Most of the women I talked to are creating better opportunities for themselves and their families, and they have found it in the ever-expanding trucking industry...
Deputy Administrator Jefferson with Ellen Voie, President and CEO of Women In Trucking.
Last month, here in the Fast Lane, we launched what I've been calling BATIC 2.0 --a staffed-up Build America Transportation Investment Center led by Andrew Right, whose background in civil engineering and finance will be critical to helping advance infrastructure projects throughout the country.
Yesterday, it was my distinct privilege to introduce BATIC to a group of stakeholders at a White House roundtable hosted by Vice President Joseph Biden.
Now, last year, President Obama charged this Department with creating BATIC to help us build the roads, bridges, ports, transit systems, and other transportation infrastructure that America needs to thrive in the 21st century. And since then, BATIC has already leveraged $18 billion in infrastructure investment across the country...
Last February, a CSX train hauling tank cars filled with crude oil from North Dakota to a transportation terminal in Yorktown, Virginia, derailed near Mount Carbon, West Virginia. Numerous tankers exploded, sending up plumes of black smoke and igniting a fire that burned for days, destroyed one home, and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
Our Federal Railroad Administration immediately responded to the derailment and began investigating. And last week, following that thorough investigation, the FRA announced that a broken rail caused this derailment. The broken rail itself resulted from what the rail industry calls a vertical split head rail defect, a defect that CSX and its contractor, Sperry Rail Service, failed to identify during two separate inspections in the months leading up to the accident.
But our work doesn't end when we determine the cause of a derailment; in fact, that's when the important, forward-thinking work of preventing future derailments begins...