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Last week, the Department had the honor of hosting a conversation with U.S. Rep. John Lewis on Transportation and Civil Rights. I wanted DOT employees to spend a little time with Congressman Lewis so that we could all better understand the connection between transportation and civil rights, and how the work he and his fellow Civil Rights foot soldiers did to desegregate the country’s transportation systems in the 1960s connects to the work we are doing at DOT today.

John Lewis, who was arrested more than 40 times for protesting segregation and inequality, is a living legend who, along with countless other civil rights activists, took great risks to help integrate our transportation system and other public facilities.  Thanks to them, our buses and trains and waiting rooms and rest stops are no longer segregated, but America's roads to opportunity are still not open to every community. The mission to close that gap continues to inform the work we do today in this Department...

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Inside a busy airport terminal, past the bookstores, the restaurants, the cinnamon bun stands, and the gift shops, opportunity is at work.

America’s airports are economic engines, fostering thousands of jobs in communities of all sizes across the country and helping commerce and tourism thrive. Airports provide ladders of opportunity for communities to revitalize neighborhoods and connect to essential services and jobs.

Opportunity soars at our nation's airports. Commercial airports support 9.6 million jobs and $358 billion in wages...

Airport cargo workers

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America's transportation system bears a critical burden: it must move people and deliver the goods and materials that Americans need and want safely and efficiently, to help America's businesses compete effectively in the global economy.

This requirement isn’t easy to achieve. And, it’s about to get a lot more challenging with projected population and employment growth. But, a provision in the recently passed Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act offers DOT an opportunity to make significant headway in nationally and regionally significant projects.

Shipping containers

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At DOT, we all know that keeping America's freight moving is a key to economic growth, and we work hard to find ways to keep it moving as our transportation system faces the challenges of the future.  But it’s important to have this conversation in places that are engines of the freight economy.  We want to learn from local businesses and stakeholders in real cities. 

It’s timely to have the conversation now because the recently enacted FAST Act is the first reauthorization bill to provide dedicated funding for freight investment in the country.  And to receive funding, states will be required to have a freight plan in place.  

So we’ve launched a series of roundtables on the freight economy that we’re planning to take around the country.

Atlanta truck and car traffic

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Today, I traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico with Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau to join Governor Alejandro Javier García Padilla and Puerto Rico Secretary of Transportation and Public Works Miguel Torres Díaz in signing an agreement that further strengthens the Administration’s commitment to develop transportation infrastructure and promote economic recovery in the Commonwealth.

This agreement provides federal technical assistance to ensure that Puerto Rican transportation officials are able to expeditiously access about $400 million in previously obligated federal funds for infrastructure projects that will create jobs and spur economic development.  It also represents an important step in Puerto Rico’s plan to improve its billing procedures by increasing capacity for developing and sustaining best practices, such as using electronic funds transfer and reducing the time it takes to pay contractors.  And the agreement permits the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to authorize the retroactive use of toll credits to be used for state matches, allowing the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) to maximize their access to federal funding.

Photo of Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Javier García Padilla and Secretary Foxx signing an agreement that further strengthens the Administration’s commitment to develop transportation infrastructure and promote economic recovery in the Commonwealth.  Also pictured behind them are Puerto Rico Chief of Staff Grace Santana, Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau, Puerto Rico Secretary of Transportation and Public Works Miguel Torres Díaz, and the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority.

Continue Reading Paving the Way to a ››
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When a community invests in a bridge or rail project, they get more out if than just another piece of infrastructure; they get a better connection to the opportunity available outside that community.  But when the same community is allowed to hire locally --when residents get a shot at building the project-- that creates opportunity within the community, and that's a powerful dividend.

Recently, Secretary Foxx wrote to stakeholders, reminding them that every $1 billion invested in federal highway and transit projects would support 13,000 jobs. He also told them of several different options to ensure that some of those jobs stay in the community...

Workers

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This afternoon, I appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies. I thanked Congress for its work in passing a bipartisan surface transportation bill last December, which has done a lot to remove the cloud of uncertainty hanging over our transportation system for the better part of the last decade.

And I also invited them to join President Obama and this Department as we build on the FAST Act with an even more robust budget proposal that creates an American transportation system unrivaled in its ability to meet the challenges of the future...

Secretary Foxx

Continue Reading A budget that moves America ››
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Earlier this month, we began a series of blog posts from a special set of mayors who have been part of DOT's Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Pilot or LadderSTEP. Now that we've given these five leaders the blog space to write about their cities' LadderSTEP experience, it's important for us to thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts with our readers.

It's one thing for us to write about the value of connecting communities, helping people get work, and revitalizing neighborhoods; it's another thing for you to hear it from those on the front lines.

While we are excited by the progress we’ve made in our 7 pilot cities, we continue to identify and elevate best practices that can spark replication and influence public transportation investment strategies. But we can do more...

DelMar station

Continue Reading LadderSTEP continues moving ››
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I've been talking about transportation's role in connecting people and opportunity since I took the oath of office as Secretary. My colleague -and fellow former mayor-- HUD Secretary Julian Castro has been an equally strong advocate for the role housing plays. Of course, Fast Lane readers will recognize that these are not competing ideas but cooperative visions.

And today at the Brookings Institution discussion, "Pathways to Opportunity: Housing, Transportation, and Social Mobility," Secretary Castro and I discussed how transportation and land use decisions work together to break down barriers and build ladders of opportunity...

Secretaries Foxx and Castro with Amy Liu of Brookings

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Seven times since 2009, this Department has unleashed our TIGER program across America.  And seven times, this intensely competitive program has awarded grants to vital projects that improve transportation and provide real benefits to real people from coast to coast.

Today, at the annual legislative conference of the National Association of Counties, I announced that $500 million will be made available for our 2016 TIGER grants.

TIGER-stamped bridge across the Mississippi

Continue Reading 2016 DOT TIGER officially ››
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