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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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What happens when a busy port opens a new $27.5 million, 650-foot marine cargo dock and storage yard? When we're talking about the Port of Brownsville, Texas, that investment significantly boosts its capacity and capability, allowing the port to compete more effectively with major domestic and foreign counterparts in the Gulf of Mexico region.

The Port of Brownsville already generates $2 billion in annual economic activity for the State of Texas.  But port leaders understand that the future of freight is a future of dramatically expanding shipping volumes and an increasingly competitive global economy.  Their plans to face the challenges and opportunities of the future with a state-of-the-art dock and storage yard garnered the support of a $12 million DOT TIGER grant, and last Friday I joined Federal, State and local officials at the Port to mark the opening of the new facilities.

But this TIGER grant will help accomplish a lot more than increased capacity.  As an emerging regional trade hub and home to several of our Nation’s vessel recyclers, the Brownsville maritime industry is a major South Texas job creator.  The industry directly employs more than 1,200 Texans and produces commercial activity that energizes maritime-related and –linked industries, generating additional jobs in other sectors of the economy.  With the addition of this TIGER-funded dock and storage yard, we are proud to be contributing to the creation of even more employment opportunities for the Lone Star State...

Port of Brownsville ribbon-cutting

Continue Reading DOT TIGER on the Loose at ››
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Rarely does DOT miss an opportunity to focus our transportation investments where they can boost local economic development.

Our funding commitments to America’s infrastructure are about more than throughput.  They pay off for individual residents who gain improved access to jobs, education, and other services even while they also boost economic growth in the community at large. From construction jobs during the building phase to more permanent jobs created when companies invest locally because of improved transportation, the taxpayer dollars we invest in infrastructure pay our nation back several times over in the economic activity these projects stimulate.

We have a long list of transportation projects to get done just in the deferred maintenance area alone, to say nothing of investing in increased capacity that stimulates development through improved access for businesses to markets, customers, and employees...

Continue Reading When We Develop ››
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