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By now, we’ve shared several looks back at 2015 from some of our Operating Administrations –FAA, FHWA, and FTA– and from our Office of Research and Technology. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the terrific work they accomplished last year for their specific mode of transportation. 

As Secretary, it has been a privilege helping shape these initiatives as well as leading a number of significant projects that cut across multiple modes...

Continue Reading 2015 another year of hard ››
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My career in public service has taught me that transportation is something we absolutely must do together. When I was the mayor of Charlotte, I made investments in transportation the center of the Queen City’s job creation and economic recovery, and the U.S. Department of Transportation played a critical role in helping us move forward.

So when President Obama asked me to serve in this position, I was both humbled and thrilled because I knew that the work of USDOT really matters. But I also knew, although we had been able to break ground on some ambitious projects in Charlotte, the larger reality was that projects were being canceled or delayed all over the country. The traditionally strong funding support authorized by the U.S. Congress was in fact at an all-time low. On my first day at USDOT, it had been more than eight years since Congress had passed a long-term surface transportation bill, and my efforts to push hard for a long term bill began immediately.

President Obama and Secretary Foxx in Minnesota at train plant

President Obama had been supportive of investing in first-class infrastructure and on Capitol Hill there was actually strong bipartisan support. But the message we kept hearing was, “let’s do this later.” I worked with my team to develop a campaign to turn the corner from “impossible” to “inevitable.”

So we scheduled hundreds of Congressional meetings. We went on two bus tours and I met with leaders in 43 states to galvanize support. The President and I even twice submitted our own surface transportation bill proposal, the GROW AMERICA Act, to give Congress a clear sense of the certainty, funding levels, and policies we need in the 21st century.

Today we finally broke through. President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act into law, marking the first long-term transportation bill passed by Congress in 10 years...

Continue Reading President Obama signs FAST ››
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Today, the American Highway Users Alliance released a report identifying the 50 worst traffic bottlenecks on American highways, providing even more truth that America is stuck in traffic.

The question is: What is the country going to do about it? 

After 36 short-term extensions, I am encouraged that Congress is finally conferencing on a long-term surface transportation bill, and to see that there are many places where the proposed House and Senate bills align with needs we foresaw in the GROW AMERICA Act.

But important areas of opportunity remain.

If, after 36 extensions and so much uncertainty and false starts, Congress passes a bill that still results in worse traffic, we will have missed a great opportunity.

Continue Reading Miles to go as Congress ››
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When you make a major purchase like a house or a car, you want to maintain it in good condition so it can provide reliable and safe use for many years.  The same is true for the transit buses and trains, stations, tracks and infrastructure, and other equipment and facilities used to deliver service that millions of people depend on every day.

Right now, the backlog of investment needed to replace and rehabilitate our Nation's aging transit infrastructure into a state of good repair is an estimated $86 billion.

One way to lower maintenance costs for transit assets, increase reliability and performance, reduce travel delays for riders, and improve safety is by identifying and prioritizing state of good repair needs.  That's why, today, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a proposed rule that would require public transportation agencies to monitor and manage their capital assets with the goal of achieving and maintaining a state of good repair. 

The proposed rule --required by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and available for public comment-- would define the term “state of good repair” and require public transportation agencies to develop Transit Asset Management Plans that inventory and assess the condition of their capital assets...

President Obama and Sec Foxx tour Metro Transit maintenance shop

Continue Reading Getting Transit Assets into ››
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I was thrilled to be back in Central Florida this week on behalf of Secretary Foxx to sign a $93.4 million full funding grant agreement with SunRail. The Federal Transit Administration grant will support the 17.2-mile second phase of expanded commuter rail service from Southern Orlando into Osceola County.

And I was pleased to be joined by Congressman John Mica, Congressman Alan Grayson, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer –three great champions for public transportation.

Group photo from SunRail event

The new line will extend from south of Orlando through Kissimmee to Poinciana in Osceola County.  The project promises improved transit access to regional employment, entertainment, cultural, and retail destinations, including the Orlando Central Business District, and –through transit connections– to the Orlando International Airport, Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, and the Lake Nona mixed-use commercial community.

FTA’s contribution to SunRail for Phase II South will cover about half the cost of the extension. This worthwhile investment will bring more transportation options to even more people so they can access jobs, services, shopping, entertainment, and other destinations when service opens in 2019...

Continue Reading The Sun Rises On New ››
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Last weekend, the Federal Highway Administration, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, the Connecticut DOT (CTDOT), and New Haven area residents celebrated the opening of the highly anticipated Pearl Harbor Memorial “Q” Bridge. This $677 million bridge –of which nearly $590 million was federal funding– is a key part of the much larger $2 billion corridor project to improve I-95 through the New Haven area.

The original “Q” Bridge –so named because it spans the Quinnipiac River– was designed to accommodate up to 40,000 drivers each day. The new bridge, a 10-lane wonder, will accommodate triple that number...

Q bridge opening ceremony

Continue Reading Connecticut bridge opening ››
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In Texas, they’re used to doing things in a big way and the new LBJ Express in Dallas is no exception. Today's opening of this project was big in a number of ways.

Big as in a $2.6 billion project, including $1.2 billion in federal aid, including a big ($850 million) loan from our Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.

The LBJ Express also rebuilds one of the busiest stretches of roadway in north Texas and in the process, improves mobility by nearly doubling the road's existing capacity and adding managed toll lanes.  That’s important when you live in America’s second-fastest growing city...

Photo of LBJ Express ribbon-cutting

Continue Reading In Dallas, managing growth ››
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Today is September 1, but don't let that fool you. The 114th Congress has another week left in its August recess. What does that mean for Fast Lane readers? There's still time to #ShowUsYourInfraWear!

That's right, our summer vacation campaign to demonstrate how your community would benefit from Federal transportation funding continues on Instagram and on Twitter [external link]--where much to our delight the campaign took on its own momentum.

If you've been following the hashtag for the past 31 days, then you've seen some good snaps of crumbling bridges, damaging pavement, disappearing bike lanes, missing sidewalks, treacherous bus stops, and a host of other symptoms of an America that needs to invest more aggressively in how we move people and freight...

Continue Reading It's September but ››
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Sacramento is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the state of California. According to the U.S. Census, the population of California’s capital region grew 4.5 percent between April 2010 and July 2014. Among counties with the largest number of workers, Sacramento also boasts the highest rate of job growth between 2012 and 2013 (up 5.5 percent to 428,475). And while the capital region deservedly celebrates its growth, regional leaders know that more residents and more commuters mean more congestion.

Fortunately, the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) has been working hard to accommodate the increasing number of travelers in the area.  And earlier this week, I joined Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Sacramento RT, state, and local officials to celebrate the opening of Sacramento’s Blue Line light rail extension from Meadowview Road to Cosumnes River College (CRC). This new service will significantly improve transit options for residents traveling between downtown Sacramento and the growing South Sacramento corridor...

Sacramento celebrates Blue LIne extension

Continue Reading Expanding Transit Options ››
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At the Federal Transit Administration, one of our top priorities is making sure that public transit helps connect people to the places they really need to go –not just physical places, but places in life.

That’s why I was proud to join Secretary Foxx earlier today at Los Angeles Trade – Technical College to announce the project selections from FTA’s Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Grant program. We awarded grants to a diverse array of 19 projects in 13 states that will work toward building the transit workforce of the future.

At L.A. Trade-Tech

We know that transit is already a leader in employing people from all walks of life. But we also know there is more that can be done to make transit jobs even more inclusive.

That’s why, in the spirit of the Secretary Foxx’s department-wide Ladders of Opportunity initiative, our workforce grant selections emphasize projects that connect disadvantaged individuals to careers in transit. These programs will target traditionally underserved communities such as women, minorities, our returning veterans, people with low-incomes, and the long-term unemployed...

Continue Reading Building the Transit ››
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