The world watched recently as two phenomenal runners –one American, the other Japanese– raced side by side in the final miles of the New York City Marathon, trading sixth and seventh places. It was not until the very end that Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi slipped ahead of America’s Meb Keflezighi by just three seconds. It looked like the runners were competing very intensely against each other, and they were.
But they were also collaborating.
After turning in one of the best performances by a Japanese runner in the New York race’s history, Kawauchi in fact told reporters that without such competition, “I probably wouldn’t have been able to push it this hard. I owe this race to Meb.” Meanwhile, Keflezighi, who is 40 and ran the fastest marathon by a masters runner in American history, credited Kawauchi for helping him break the record.
As I visited Japan last weekend, it struck me that this moment in sports was a microcosm of the U.S.-Japan alliance. For 70 years, our countries have stood together as partners. We have run side by side --in a way competing, but mostly trying to push each other forward. President Obama and Prime Minister Abe have been trying to break through barriers --ranging from trade to climate change-- to further strengthen our bond. I went to Tokyo, in turn, to reaffirm our longstanding commitment to helping each other improve our transportation systems...
Since we announced our first round of awards in 2010, DOT’s TIGER program has supported transportation projects that promise to transform cities, rural communities, and regions. For the 2015 TIGER grants --our seventh round—we’ve also selected a project whose benefits will help an entire state.
The State of Texas is receiving a TIGER 2015 grant for $20.8 million to replace more than 300 old and unreliable buses and vans in rural communities across the Lone Star State –the state with the largest rural population in America. These funds will also help build four new facilities to help maintain those vehicles and make it easier for people to connect to public transportation.
“Our rural residents rely on these transportation services to commute between jobs, school, doctor’s appointments, and other destinations that help them maintain their independence while also contributing to the economy,” said TxDOT Executive Director LtGen Joe Weber, USMC (Ret). “Without this funding, more than 70 percent of the rural transit fleet used for such services would be outdated by 2017.”
The Port of Hueneme is thrilled to be awarded its first-ever U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant. The $12.3 million grant award provides critical funding for capital improvements including, deepening berths, strengthening our wharfs, modernizing our cargo infrastructure and building on-dock rail connections. The approximate balance of $12.2 million in project costs comes from port financing, private-sector dollars, and secured grants.
Specifically, this TIGER grant funds a crucial component of the Port of Hueneme’s Intermodal Improvement Project, which will allow for larger-capacity vessels, increased cold storage and cargo treatment and handling capability to support increased agricultural imports and exports, as well as implementing on-dock rail improvements that will allow for more efficient transfer of cargo.
Cargo activities at Port of Hueneme create $1.1 billion a year in economic return to the community, generate $69 million in state and local taxes and sustains over 10,200 area jobs. This project promises to strengthen the port’s asset utilization, enhance productivity, respond to customer demand, support growing import and export cargo flows, improve air quality and reduce regional congestion by offering efficient modal options...
America's trucking community, the men and women who travel our nation's highways carrying the goods that fuel our economy and support our daily life, know that safe truck parking is a necessity. They also know it's not easy to find. With a little help from TIGER, we're hoping to change that.
Nearly six million commercial motor vehicle drivers are out on our roads each day, a number that is expected to increase dramatically by 2045. That’s why --in one of our most innovative TIGER grants ever-- DOT awarded $25 million to the Regional Truck Parking Information and Management System (TPIMS).
The Kansas Department of Transportation is the lead in this, but the important regional project includes seven other states: Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Funding will help selected key freight interstates in the region get parking information to truckers, who can then plan safe rest stops...
As we continue to roll-out our 2015 TIGER grants, I want to let you know what I’ve been doing to celebrate TIGER Day.
This morning, I was in Baltimore, MD, to announce our TIGER award of $10 million to support infrastructure improvements for the Southeast Baltimore Port Industry Freight Corridor Plan. This project will help the Port of Baltimore be a better neighbor to area residents even while it positions the Port for future growth.
In the early afternoon, I held a conference call with reporters nationwide about our TIGER projects, specifically the projects we funded in rural communities. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that DOT has a program like TIGER to help these often-overlooked and often-isolated communities get access to the transportation resources they need.
Finally, I found my way home. Not to Washington, DC, home of our DOT Headquarters, but to Charlotte, NC, my real hometown. There, I announced a $25 million TIGER grant to build the Gateway Station, a multimodal transit hub in Uptown Charlotte...
You call it October 29; here at DOT, we’re calling it “TIGER day.”
Earlier in the year, I announced the availability of $500 million in funding for the seventh round of our Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program. Within a few months, we reached out to State, County, and local governments; transit agencies; port authorities; metropolitan planning organizations; and other project sponsors with pre-application instructions, benefit-cost analysis guidelines, a best-practices webinar, and other resources to ensure that communities across America with unfunded transportation needs had a fair shot at a TIGER grant.
The applications rolled in --627 eligible applications in all, from 50 states, several U.S. territories, and Tribal governments. Applicants requested a total of $10.1 billion for needed transportation projects, 20 times the program's available funding.
And today, we're announcing the 39 projects selected...
Last week, street artists repainted much of Denver with a Back to the Future theme, commemorating the day that Marty McFly and Doc traveled to in their time machine. But, at the "Transportation Matters" Colorado DOT summit today in Denver, I had to break the news that, no, we do not have hover-cars yet, or flyways.
Soon however, we are likely to have cars that talk to each other and even drive themselves. In fact, we could see automation completely transform how we travel and how we move freight.
The potential innovations we see on the horizon aren't just fun and games. If we're going to continue moving the dial on transportation, and if we want to avoid being overwhelmed by the growth we’re going to experience as a country, we will absolutely need these technologies...
The Freight Analysis Framework (FAF) is considered the most comprehensive and widely used freight transportation data source in the United States.
Every 5 years, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) update the FAF based on numbers from BTS’ Commodity Flow Survey. And this month, we updated the FAF once again.
The new FAF includes 2012 dollar value and tonnage of freight shipments by mode of transport: truck, rail, water, air and pipeline. Projections through 2045 will be available in the upcoming months...
It is one of this Department's most special assets, and perhaps our most unsung. I'm talking about the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system --particularly the U.S. locks I had the pleasure and privilege of visiting yesterday.
If bundled together, the eight states and two Canadian provinces that share this system would comprise the world's third largest economy, behind only the U.S. and China. The bi-national Seaway is a vital, environmentally sustainable artery for trade into and out of the United States and Canada, supporting $34.6 billion of economic activity, providing America's Opportunity Belt with access to world markets, and supporting and 227,000 jobs. The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), which maintains and operates the two U.S. locks, delivers plenty of return value on America's investment in the Seaway.
I went to Massena, NY, yesterday to join SLSDC Administrator Betty Sutton in honoring local emergency responders and the men and women of the SLSDC. When the cruise ship Saint Laurent struck a bumper at the Eisenhower Lock, their quick and effective response ensured that passengers were able to receive the medical care they needed and the vessel itself was able to resume service in less than 48 hours...
Over the weekend this Department released a National Freight Strategic Plan that we hope will wake the country up and get us moving forward.
Our freight network has been one of the great strengths of our country. Millions of Americans wake up in the morning and go to jobs operating trucks, trains, aircraft, ships, and barges. Freight directly supports 44 million jobs.
And our freight workers do more than ensure goods move successfully from one point to another. What they really do is move our economy. Because the cost of moving goods in America is one of the lowest in the world, the jobs these men and women do give us a competitive advantage over other nations.
Our freight infrastructure should be as good as our workers are, as our businesses are. But it’s not. It’s crumbling. And, we're making matters worse by continuing to underinvest.
It's time for this generation to shoulder the burden, face our transportation challenges, and keep improving our Nation's freight network...