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.
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.
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...
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...
As you might have heard or read, Vice President Biden took a 2-day tour up the Mississippi River this week to mark the 7th anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009. I had the pleasure of joining him for this celebration --of jobs saved and created, of an economy rescued from the depths of recession, and of a historic investment in the transportation infrastructure we so badly needed.
And I think it's safe to say that our pairing could not have been more apt.
You see, from the earliest days of the Administration, the President entrusted the Vice President with implementation of this crucial legislation. And, although DOT was only responsible for about 6 percent of total Recovery Act spending, by visiting our Headquarters together --not once, but twice-- within the first few months of the Recovery, the President and Vice President made very clear the important role the Administration's $48 billion transportation investment would play in jump-starting our economy. How did DOT respond? By punching way above our weight class...
This week, we commemorate the seventh anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), which the President signed into law on February 17, 2009. Today and tomorrow the Vice President will visit New Orleans, Memphis, and St. Paul to highlight the Recovery Act’s role in restarting job growth and revitalizing our transportation system. You can read more about the Vice President's trip on Medium.
The Recovery Act provided over $48 billion in job-creating investments in transportation infrastructure, which put people back to work and comprised a significant down payment toward revitalizing our transportation system.
Recovery Act projects improved the Nation’s roads and bridges; led to expanded and safer public transit options; made a significant down-payment in American high-speed rail; invested in runways, airports, and Air Traffic Control upgrades; supported game-changing investments through the innovative, multi-modal TIGER program; and assisted capital and infrastructure improvements at small shipyards...
President Obama signs Recovery Act; official White House photo.
One of America’s biggest transportation challenges over the next 30 years will be our growing population. With 70 Million more people being added by 2045, we’ll have more people moving between home and work, and more freight sharing our roads.
One of the best tools we have for combatting the resulting traffic congestion is the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program. Through its New Starts, Small Starts, and Core Capacity grants, the CIG program helps build subways, light rail, streetcars, and Bus Rapid Transit lines that move more people more efficiently while helping preserve clean air and improve quality of life. Just as importantly, those projects build real ladders of opportunity in communities across the country – bringing jobs, education, healthcare, and shopping within reach.
This year in President Obama’s proposed FY 2017 budget, we’re recommending 31 projects in 18 states to share in $3.5 billion that will help expand mobility, create jobs, and spur economic development...
When a State develops a project that promises to improve safety, ease congestion, and remove bottlenecks to speed the flow of freight, that's the kind of plan the Federal Highway Administration is proud to support.
The U.S. 301 Mainline in Delaware, which broke ground yesterday, is that kind of project.
Not only will the new U.S. 301 create jobs for the men and women building the route, but when finished, it will also help people keep their jobs at companies that can cut shipping costs. And for the commercial truck drivers struggling to get between Delaware and Virginia, it will help them do their jobs better.
A few years ago, in one of my first posts here in the Fast Lane, I wrote that, to make American transportation safer and stronger, "we need every tool in the box and a few we haven't even thought of yet."
Well, last Friday, I saw powerful affirmation of that at Texas A&M University, the site of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition. At this event, more than a thousand high school and college engineers from all over the world presented their designs for the best Hyperloop pod. And I think that level of turnout and excitement from student innovators is the biggest story emerging from the competition...
Visiting with student competitors from MIT.
Last week, the Federal Highway Administration reported that, with the data from November now in, it looks pretty clear that 2015 was a record year for Vehicle Miles Traveled.
By the end of November, U.S. drivers had racked up about 2.88 trillion vehicle miles traveled, with each of the first 11 months of the year showing an increase of between 2.5 and 4.9 percent over the corresponding month from 2014. Even if the December 2015 data show no gain from December 2014, which is unlikely, that would put the 2015 total over 3.1 trillion. That's an increase over 2014 of more than 100 billion miles.
No matter how you slice it, that's a lot of miles...in terms of absolute value, and also as an indicator of what kind of volume America's roads are bearing. And, as Secretary Foxx observed on his Facebook page last Friday, that's 2.88 trillion good reasons for America to get #BeyondTraffic...