BTS Releases Geographic Databases for 2016- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) released the 2016 edition of the National Transportation Atlas Database (NTAD) this week. The NTAD is a compilation of datasets representing the nation’s transportation infrastructure, including more than 500,000 miles of roadway, over 600,000 bridges, and in excess of 19,000 airports. This year’s NTAD consists of over 60 individual data layers, most of which have been updated within the last year. The NTAD also includes several new features: the U.S. portion of the North American Rail Network, truck parking, and road and airport noise layers. The 2016 NTAD marks the end of the traditional annual update. BTS will now begin using a dynamic publication cycle, making updated data available throughout the year, allowing for more timely delivery to users. Also new this year, NTAD will be available exclusively online. To offer larger and more complex data sets and enhanced functionality, DVDs have been eliminated. The enhanced online NTAD datasets allow for customizable downloads and APIs. They are available as GeoJSON and GeoServices (REST) services and are also available for download as shapefiles, kml and csv files. Contacts: Press: Dave Smallen: (202) 366-5568. For technical information: Dominic Menegus: (202) 366-8717.
PHMSA Issues Advisory Bulletin on Corrosion Related to Insulated Coatings on Buried Pipelines. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published an advisory bulletin in the Federal Register reminding pipeline owners and operators to review their operating, maintenance, and integrity management activities to ensure that their insulated and buried pipelines have effective corrosion control systems. The advisory follows the release of PHMSA’s Final Investigative Report for the Plains Line 901 pipeline failure in Santa Barbara, Calif., which was caused by extensive external corrosion under the affected pipe’s insulated coating. This advisory urges operators to consider preventative and mitigative actions suggested in the advisory to minimize failures, protect the environment, and ensure the safety of the public. Read the advisory bulletin here. Contact for media: Artealia Gilliard (202) 366-4831.
USDOT Proposes New Rule to Improve ‘Mega-Region’ Transportation Planning. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) jointly proposed a new rule this week that would improve coordination of multi-modal transportation planning by metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) serving the nation’s urban areas. The proposed rule, which would affect about a third of the nation’s 409 MPOs, would promote more effective regional prioritization of multi-modal investments through better coordination among local governments with planning responsibilities in the same urbanized areas, as designated by governors. Its goal is to improve the effectiveness of transportation planning for multi-modal projects addressing regional needs. It would revise the definition of “Metropolitan Planning Area” (MPA) to align with its statutory definition, requiring the MPA to include the entire urbanized area. Where there are multiple MPOs in a single MPA, the proposed rule would also require that those MPOs and their states’ governors decide whether to consolidate, adjust their boundaries or to prepare unified planning products. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking appeared in the Federal Register this week. The public is invited to submit its comments through www.regulations.gov during the 60-day public comment period. Contact: FHWA’s Doug Hecox (202) 366-0660 or FTA’s Sarah Clements (202) 366-3062.
FMCSA Awards $32 Million to Border States to Ensure Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Enforcement. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it has awarded $32 million in financial assistance to 15 states to help ensure that foreign truck and bus drivers and vehicles involved in international commerce at or near border crossings with Canada and Mexico are properly licensed to operate on U.S. roads. The Border Enforcement Grant (BEG) program is a federal discretionary grant program focused on reducing crashes, fatalities, and injuries by drivers and vehicles involved in international commerce by ensuring that these motor carriers, drivers, and vehicles are in compliance with U.S. commercial vehicle safety regulations, including financial responsibility, operating authority, driver qualifications and licensing, and vehicle maintenance. The grants are awarded to state law enforcement agencies that share a border with Canada or Mexico and responsible for enforcing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations at the roadside. FMCSA awarded BEG funds to the following states:
FY16 BEG Award
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Arizona Department of Public Safety
California Highway Patrol
Idaho State Police Commercial Vehicle Safety
Maine Department of Public Safety
Michigan Department of State Police
Minnesota State Patrol
Montana Department of Transportation
New Hampshire Department of Safety
New Mexico Department of Public Safety
New York State Department of Transportation
North Dakota Highway Patrol
Texas Department of Public Safety
Vermont Agency of Transportation
Washington State Patrol
For further information on the FMCSA Border Enforcement Grant Program, visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/mission/grants/border-enforcement-grant. Contact: Duane DeBruyne: (202) 366-9999.