Infrastructure and Jobs. The Department of Transportation rapidly implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the most significant public works program since the New Deal, awarding $48 billion in Recovery Act dollars for more than 15,000 transportation projects across the nation which created tens of thousands of jobs. The Recovery Act projects lead to nearly 42,000 miles of road improved, over 2,700 bridges improved or replaced and the purchase or rehabilitation of over 12,220 transit vehicles. The Recovery Act also made the first-ever investments in American high-speed rail, with the construction of approximately 1,000 route-miles of new or improved track benefiting high-speed and faster intercity passenger rail corridor programs.
TIGER. A unique feature of the Recovery Act was the $1.5 billion TIGER grant program which allowed the Secretary to invest in critical projects that were difficult to fund through traditional programs. Through TIGER, cities, counties, states and other government entities applied to the Department of Transportation, with many getting direct access to Federal transportation funds for the first time. The best projects were funded through a competitive process that encouraged innovation and regional collaboration. Due to the program’s popularity, Congress extended it for an additional three rounds, and the TIGER program has now provided $3.1 billion to 218 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
MAP-21. The Department of Transportation has rapidly implemented the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, known as MAP-21, the first long-term surface transportation authorization enacted since 2005. The Department has been working diligently across modal administrations to implement the many new funding and programmatic provisions in MAP-21, which provides $105 billion in transportation funding over two years. The Department has provided guidance on over 50 provisions within three months, including major funding programs for highways, transit, and safety and the newly expanded TIFIA credit program. Throughout this process, the Department has continued to provide opportunities to the public and transportation stakeholders to engage and have input.
Regional Projects. The Department of Transportation put an emphasis on regional partnerships, bringing together state, county and municipal leaders for a common purpose to build or improve major infrastructure projects in every corner of the country. In Los Angeles, DOT provided a $545 million TIFIA loan to help build the new Crenshaw Light Rail Line that will help riders connect to the city’s airport and downtown area. In the Midwest, DOT is supporting the modernization underway at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and recently gave $25 million to kick-start Detroit’s M1 streetcar line. On the East Coast, the Department’s oversight of the DC to Dulles Silver Line will connect the region’s busiest international airport to the city’s metro system that runs throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia. These projects and others like it help towns and cities tackle the big picture transportation needs their communities – and their surrounding regions – need to compete and succeed in the future.
FAA Reauthorization. President Obama signed the FAA reauthorization bill into law, ending a five-year wait for long-term FAA funding and ending a string of 23 short-term funding extensions. The reauthorization bill has helped the FAA to continue to run the world’s safest system while accelerating the delivery of NextGen benefits to the traveling public.
CAFE. Under the President’s leadership, DOT and EPA set historic new standards that will nearly double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles on our roadways by 2025 and cut greenhouse gas emissions in half. The Administration’s national standard creates an even playing field and sets expectations for auto manufacturers, while saving consumers trillions at the pump, reducing the nation’s dependence on oil, and improving air quality.
Pilot Fatigue Rule. After 25 years of deadlock, Secretary LaHood announced a major aviation safety achievement – the overhaul of pilot rest rules. Under the rule announced in December 2011, commercial pilots will have the opportunity to get proper rest before reporting for duty.
Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), also known as Cash for Clunkers, was the most successful short-term economic stimulus initiative in DOT history. In a matter of weeks, Americans traded in nearly 700,000 gas-guzzlers for more fuel-efficient cars, improving the environment, providing a lifeline to the auto industry and giving the economy a shot in the arm when it desperately needed it. NHTSA estimates the program resulted in a $6.8 billion increase in GDP and 60,000 jobs created or saved.
NextGen. Aviation is an economic engine. Our skies are too congested and our existing aviation infrastructure can’t handle expected future demand. Over the last three and a half years, the FAA has made significant strides in transitioning our aviation system from radar to satellites. NextGen will deliver more on-time flights, reduce fuel burn and further ensure that we maintain the safest aviation system in the world. In 2012, the FAA continued to rollout a collaborative NextGen effort – called the Metroplex initiative – to major cities and regions nationwide that will increase safety, help airlines improve on-time performance and reduce aircraft emissions.
High-Speed Rail. Today, thirty-four states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia are laying the foundation for high-speed rail corridors that will link Americans with faster and more energy-efficient travel options. The federal government is investing $12 billion in upgrading, improving and expanding the nation’s rail network. Over the next forty years America’s population will expand by another 100 million people. The growth in population demands new travel options. Investing in the next generation of higher performing rail equipment, upgrading track structures, and renovating and building new rail stations leads to better, faster, more reliable intercity passenger rail service. Increased rail usage leads to a cleaner environment, more travel choices, expanding economic opportunities and more jobs for the American public.
Livable Communities. Beginning in 2009, DOT partnered with HUD and EPA to help improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment in communities nationwide. This coordination marks the first time the three agencies have aligned funding decisions to ensure taxpayers earn maximum benefits. DOT has supported funding, planning, and technical assistance for a wider array of transportation options, including high speed rail, streetcars and comprehensive walking and biking paths. DOT has also improved access to transportation options to people with disabilities, including intercity, commuter and high speed passenger rail as well as those who travel on boats and ships.
Connected Vehicles. As part of its safety mission, the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration is exploring “connected vehicle” technology, which uses a wireless communications network to alert drivers to potential accidents, dangerous curves, unsafe road and weather conditions and other hazards. In August, the Department began a year-long model deployment, at a test site in Ann Arbor, Mich., testing connected vehicle technology in approximately 3,000 cars, trucks and buses under real-world conditions.
Every Day Counts Initiative. FHWA launched the Every Day Counts (EDC) Initiative in 2009 to shorten project delivery, accelerate technology and innovation deployment, and reduce the carbon footprint of FHWA. Dozens of EDC strategies, ranging from innovative contracting methods to using alternative asphalt, have been adopted in some form by every single state and are at work on thousands of projects nationwide to bring the traveling public better and smarter infrastructure while reducing congestion. This is one of the steps DOT is taking to get job-creating projects underway and completed as quickly as possible.
New Fuel Economy Labels. In 2011, Secretary LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson unveiled new fuel economy labels for new cars and trucks sold in the U.S., the first update since the labels were introduced 30 years ago. The new labels provide consumers with more information in a more usable format. New car shoppers can now see the amount of savings over a five-year period, a fuel economy comparison to other vehicles in the same class, and easy-to-understand guidance about each car or truck’s environmental impact. Shoppers can also scan a code with their smartphones to store that vehicle’s information, compare it to other vehicles, and access www.fueleconomy.gov for even more information. The new labels help fulfill President Obama's plan to provide Americans with relief from high gas prices and break the dependence on foreign oil.
Open Skies. The Obama Administration continued to seek liberalized Open-Skies agreements with aviation partners around the world. Open-Skies agreements remove restrictions on routes, destinations and pricing and allow airlines to respond to market demand. Fifteen new aviation partners agreed to Open Skies with the United States during the current administration, bringing our total number to 109 Open Skies partners.
International Alliances. The Department of Transportation has granted antitrust immunity to international aviation alliances, including the Star Alliance and oneworld alliance, when we have found that immunity will improve competition and expand services for consumers. The Department’s grants of immunity have allowed the alliances to add new airlines and expand their networks to more destinations, providing consumers with additional travel options.