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In a time when it can be difficult to secure investments in major infrastructure projects, taking advantage of the latest in innovative finance is critical. At DOT, that’s where the Build America Bureau comes in.

Today, I’m proud to join Vice President Biden to announce the Bureau’s milestone loan to Amtrak that will bring the next generation of high-speed rail service to the Northeast Corridor.

Rendering of Amtrak train

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In 2013, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan, a bold plan that is now on track to reduce emissions from nearly every sector of our economy. 

Today, we are fulfilling one of the central promises in this plan – finalizing the second phase of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy duty vehicles for model years 2018 and beyond.​​​

Picture of Secretary Foxx with Administrator McCarthy​​​​​​​

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Emergency responders understand the importance of safety better than anyone else. They face life and death situations every day when they go to work – at the scene of a crash, where they rescue victims and protect others.

Each year, an estimated 100 emergency responders are killed in the line of duty. That’s why the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in partnership with the responder community, developed the Traffic Incident Management – or “TIM” – Responder Training.

Picture of car crash on highway -- photo credit Ragegoss on Wikimedia Commons

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As one of the world’s busiest ports, the Port of Houston represents a large part of the region’s vibrant economy. It is a 25-mile-long complex of terminals that serve more than 8,000 vessels and 200,000 barges each year. No wonder several sections of I-10 and I-45 that link to the port are grappling with freight congestion.

Houston is not alone. In the Federal Highway Administration’s latest series of Freight Economy roundtables – in Houston, Oklahoma City, and Virginia’s Hampton Roads area – we heard about the importance of investments in our waterways, rails, and highways to get goods and products where they need to go and move our economy forward.

Picture of Port of Houston

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Every year, it’s a privilege at DOT to award TIGER grants – funds that help revitalize communities in innovative and interconnected ways. Last week, you saw Secretary Foxx’s announcement of the 2016 TIGER winners: 40 communities that will receive a share of close to $500 million in TIGER grants nationwide.

Each of those communities has a story to tell. Today, I’m in Carlisle, Pennsylvania to highlight one of those stories – the story of how  a community came together to better itself, and how a $5 million TIGER grant will amplify their efforts.

Photo of Victor Mendez at podium​​​​​​​

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For the past 8 years, the TIGER program has been a showcase of American ingenuity, and this year is no exception.

Today, I’m proud to announce the award of nearly $500 million toward innovative infrastructure projects nationwide – funding projects in 40 communities across the country, including 32 states and 2 U.S. territories.

Picture of I-579 in downtown Pittsburgh - courtesy user Enlightenedment/Wikimedia Commons

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I’m pleased to let the entire transportation and research community know that Anne Aylward has been named the new director of Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center.

Anne is a nationally recognized expert in intermodal transportation with decades of experience in planning, policy, and research management. She has served at Volpe for over 20 years, where she has made substantial contributions to DOT priorities in leading Volpe’s research and technology staff – 490 analysts, economists, engineers, planners, scientists, and system developers.  

Picture of Anne Aylward

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The roads and bridges we drive on connect us to the places we need to go, our ports move freight around the country, and our transit systems are weaving our urban communities together. The health of our transportation system is directly related to our economic success, but the reality is that some of these assets are centuries old and in desperate need of repair, while the need for new infrastructure continues to grow. 

I’ve made it a priority as Secretary of Transportation to support creative and innovative infrastructure finance, and to advocate for long term funding solutions. I am excited to announce that today we officially opened the doors of the new Build America Bureau, a center that will deliver real, tangible infrastructure development for local, regional, and national population centers.

Picture of Secretary Foxx at podium

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In continuing our series of conversations with freight stakeholders nationwide, it is abundantly clear that freight movement impacts businesses everywhere in America.  The economies of the three latest places I have visited – Des Moines, Iowa, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington – thrive on a wide array of industries, ranging from soybeans to steel to seafood.  While the freight challenges are region-specific, other problems – such as bottlenecks and chokepoints – are common everywhere.  What we know is that the interconnectivity of freight movement will expand, and that the future of transportation is one in which all forms of transportation—highways, rails, ports and airports—work together seamlessly.  

Secretary Foxx's "Beyond Traffic" report from last year estimated that in the next 30 years freight volume will grow to 29 billion tons—an increase of 45 percent from 2014 levels—and he has said many times that the future of our economy rests on a robust transportation system to move materials and products.

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As we continue to look toward a transportation network that is not only increasingly safe and efficient environmental impact remains a priority. Fast Lane readers will know that we haven't been shy about sharing the environmental benefits of shipping freight by water.  From lower greenhouse gas emissions to higher fuel efficiency, we think the relative sustainability advantages of maritime shipping add up to a significant benefit for shippers and the public.

That said, I was excited to learn that Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) was recently honored for its environmental performance results for 2015. Presented by Green Marine, a North American environmental certification program, the receipt of this award demonstrates SLSDC’s continued excellence and leadership in environmental sustainability.

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