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...
Since 2009, our TIGER competitive grant program has provided a combined $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. That's a terrific outcome, right? Hundreds of good projects making it easier for people to get where they're going and easier for freight to get to markets. And any Department would be rightfully proud of that achievement --as DOT is.
But during that same period, demand has been so overwhelming that the Department received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion. That means that for every project selected, 17 projects that communities across the country need go unfunded. And for every dollar requested, we have only been able to provide about 3 cents. Three cents.
For this year's TIGER grants, communities are facing the same disappointment: We've received 625 applications seeking $9.8 billion in funding, 20 times more than the $500 million Congress has made available. Again, we're seeing a demonstration of the continued need for transportation investment nationwide.
Now, we're looking forward to selecting the best of those projects, but the consistent number of high quality projects we’re unable to fund through TIGER every year demonstrates the need for Congress to give more communities access to this vital lifeline.
That's why earlier this year, we sent Congress the GROW AMERICA Act, a transportation proposal that included more than doubling the amount available for TIGER...
By 2045, our nation will need to accommodate the 70 million more people that will be added to our population. Knowing this, we must prepare for a nation with growing needs for food, goods, commerce, defense, and energy. These needs mean our national freight system will have to move 14 billion more tons of freight each year, and 4 billion tons of that freight will sourced internationally and move through America’s ports.
You can imagine, then, the importance of facilities like the Port of Virginia in Norfolk, the only port on the U.S. East Coast currently capable of handling the latest 13,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) vessels. These super-sized ships are the vessels of the near future --a future that will feature a widened Panama Canal-- and these vessels are capable of carrying many times more freight than ships currently passing through the Canal.
Yesterday, at the Port of Virginia, we celebrated the groundbreaking of two projects that will improve access, safety, and efficiency, allowing the Port to manage the anticipated increases in vessel size and cargo tonnage more effectively...
Yesterday, anticipating the second day of the New York Times Cities For Tomorrow conference, @mslynnross tweeted, "Looking forward to action-packed Day 2 at #NYTCFT...." And in my reply, I had to wonder whether I could deliver on that expectation.
It might not fit everyone's definition of "action-packed," but there was a lot of pretty lively discussion at Cities For Tomorrow, and later in the day when I met students and faculty at New York University's Rudin Center for Transportation...and again earlier this morning at New York MOVES.
You see, New York's residents, officials, and planners are having a real conversation about transportation, and they're talking about three things that I've been talking about with people across the country: the need to reverse our infrastructure deficit, the need to use transportation to connect people and not to separate them, and the need to protect everyone who uses our streets --including bicyclists and pedestrians.
For now, I just want to talk about one of them...
From mass transit projects to new highways, bridges, sidewalks and hiker/biker trails, effectively addressing transportation needs in communities across the nation shares one common foundation —good planning.
Last week, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced recipients of the biennial 2015 Transportation Planning Excellence Awards to local leaders who are sponsoring forward-thinking transportation projects that deliver lasting benefits to the public.
From Roanoke, Virginia, to Mt. Hood, Oregon, we selected eight projects based on their successes in forging partnerships in the community and developing creative, effective solutions with long-term benefits. Each project also addresses more than one form of transportation...
Whether you're a close watcher of the industry or not, you've probably been hearing more lately about public-private partnerships in transportation. And, chances are that you'll be hearing more about them in the near future.
This nation is facing an infrastructure deficit. Yet we know that our country is growing –and that we’re going to have more people accessing our roads, rails, and airports than ever before. And more freight to move than ever before.
This creates an environment where, rather than having a single strategy, we need to have an all-of-the-above strategy. This is where the concept of public-private partnerships – or P3s plays in...
Major trends are shaping the future of our transportation systems. Our population is growing and aging. Our legacy transit systems need more attention every day. Our roads and runways face increasing congestion.
America's way of life and continued economic growth depend on meeting these challenges, so this October, DOT and the White House Office of Public Engagement will host a Champions of Change event focused on “Beyond Traffic: Innovators in Transportation for the Future.”
I invite you to help us recognize the champions who are making it all possible...
The Connect Historic Boston project got its official start last Friday with a groundbreaking that included DOT's Undersecretary for Policy Peter Rogoff and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
The public ceremony had a much longer guest list, however, because Connect Historic Boston would not be possible without the collaboration of the Federal Highway Administration, the Massachusetts DOT, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the City of Boston's Public Works Department, the National Park Service, and many others groups. That long list of partners --and the improvements the project will make to America's oldest functioning street network-- helps make it exactly the kind of innovative undertaking that DOT's TIGER grant program was designed to support.
Which is why our $15.5 million TIGER award is making possible this $23 million effort to improve bicycle and pedestrian access to downtown Boston and its treasure of American history...
Today we released a set of Fact Sheets showing the condition of transportation in all 50 states. It's not a pretty picture.
Grim data from just one of the 50 fact sheets DOT released today.
A nation's infrastructure is its economic backbone. And you don't need a history book to know that a big part of America's success has long been our willingness to invest in our transportation system. In return, our ability to get supplies to manufacturers, goods to market, and people where they need to go has helped us thrive.
But we've been investing in that ability less and less. And, as our willingness to invest has declined and transportation spending has decreased, it's no coincidence that —more and more— Americans in every state are experiencing the frustration of poor road conditions and congestion.
Like most of our Nation’s major urban areas, New York City is experiencing growing pains. The Big Apple’s rising population means surging needs for freight and services, which have made congestion a common reality for the city’s more than 10 million daily commuters.
However, New York has long had a transportation ace in the hole —its geography and access to water. New York City is positioned on a series of islands right in the middle of New York Harbor, one of the world’s largest natural harbors. We at the Maritime Administration (MARAD) have always viewed the harbor as a common sense solution to the city’s transportation challenges, whether it’s using ferries to transport people or ships and barges to move freight, and that’s why we've been making moves to help New York fully leverage this asset.
Floating containers on barges across the harbor has long been a reliable way to move cargo between New York and New Jersey —without adding to the dense traffic on the region's bridges. That’s why back in April, with MARAD's support, Secretary Foxx formally designated a cross-harbor barge service between Port Newark and Brooklyn as an Official American Marine Highway Project...