Congratulations, Secretary Foxx, on a memorable first year!
In his first official blog post one year ago today, newly sworn-in Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wrote that, "Whether it is a bus, road, train, plane, or ship, our transportation system --at its best-- connects people to a better quality of life."
A year later, that initial statement remains the clearest description of what Secretary Foxx and this Department have worked so hard to do over the past 12 months--connect Americans to a better quality of life.
And we're happy to report that, with the Secretary's leadership, we've made significant headway toward that goal.
Secretary Foxx has made improving safety, and particularly the safe transportation of crude oil, a priority in his first year, in addition to increasing transportation investment, improving efficiency, and using innovation to stretch transportation dollars further.
In the past year, DOT has taken more than two dozen unprecedented actions to enforce regulations, reduce risks, and enhance the safety of crude-oil transportation including most recently requiring railroads transporting crude to inform states that the product is moving through their communities and urging the use of stronger tank cars when moving crude.
And the Secretary's safety efforts have extended into every other mode of transportation, including pilot training, pedestrian protection, and motorcoach travel.
Increased transportation efficiency is another way to connect Americans to a better quality of life, and the recent launch of NextGen aviation technology and flight patterns in the Houston Metroplex will help air travelers by boosting on-time flights --as well as saving fuel and reducing emissions.
Under Secretary Foxx, we've also increased the efficiency of project delivery so communities don't have to wait decades to enjoy the benefits of transportation projects. On the long-awaited Tappan Zee Bridge project in New York, for example, DOT completed the permitting and review process in only 15 months. That's a win for the commuters who will be able to get to work on a new Hudson River crossing that much sooner.
This kind of innovation is important because America is facing significant population growth in the next couple of decades, and improved transportation is a key part of the solution to the challenges that kind of growth brings. We can't afford a backlog of projects and workers sitting on the sidelines until all of the pieces of the puzzle slide into place--we need to move those pieces into place faster, and Secretary Foxx has made that a priority.
We appreciate the Secretary's vision of transportation as a connection to a better quality of life because that vision articulates exactly why we're all here at DOT, and Secretary Foxx has understood that since day one. What we've accomplished in the past year is proof positive that his effective leadership is helping us make that vision real, and we thank him for that.
One achievement that helps translate this vision into reality is the Secretary's announcement in February that DOT's 2014 TIGER grants will emphasize projects that support reliable, safe, and affordable transportation options that improve connections for both urban and rural communities. This will make it easier for people to reach work, school, and other ladders of opportunity.
But, we can't celebrate the Secretary's first year without also thanking him for his tireless campaign to stabilize transportation funding. From his decision to share the Highway Trust Fund ticker on www.dot.gov to his ceaseless advocacy for increased investment in our nation's transportation infrastructure, Secretary Fox has been a strong champion for the work we do every day to keep America moving.
Congratulations, Mr. Secretary, on a terrific first year! We can't wait to get started on the next one.