Cross-posted courtesy of the Morgan State University newsroom.
Deputy U.S. Secretary of Transportation John Porcari was on the campus of Morgan State University yesterday where he spoke to a group attending Morgan’s annual Summer Transportation Institutes for high school students and secondary school teachers. Deputy Secretary Porcari fielded questions about job opportunities for emerging engineers and specialists, and why the industry needs more young people for future growth.
“In the next few years, we will have a significant part of the transportation workforce become eligible for retirement, and that means we need your passion and vision for the industry in order for it to continue moving in the right direction,” Porcari told the group.
This Administration has been a strong supporter of marine transportation as an environmentally friendly alternative to road and rail when shipping goods throughout America. And the U.S. maritime industry is becoming even more environmentally-friendly each day. More and more shipyards and ports have made investments to reduce their footprint.
Yesterday I toured the Port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and was excited to see its efforts to reduce vessel emissions.
Minnesota's rebuilt I-35 Bridge just one example of what we can accomplish
Nearly six years ago, the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River. Yesterday, I toured the new I-35W crossing--which was rebuilt in little over a year and has become a symbol of what we can achieve when we commit ourselves and work together to meet the challenges facing America's roadways.
By collaborating at the local, state, and federal levels, transportation officials were able to complete the new I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge more than three months ahead of schedule. So, no one appreciates the value of a strong commitment and an effective partnership more than U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, who hosted my visit.
Our nation has grown faster than the capacity of our roadways. Across the country, commuters rushing to work, students heading to class, and moms and dads taking their kids to camps, schools, and day-care centers regularly drive over bridges that are carrying loads far beyond their intended capacity and far beyond their intended lifespan.
Putting rail on par with other modes of transportation will build on strong progress
This morning I was in New Haven, Connecticut, to talk about safety because I wanted my first official visit as Secretary to focus on DOT's first priority--safety. So, many thanks to Governor Dannel Malloy, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro for welcoming me and giving me the opportunity to start my official travel on the right track.
If you follow transportation news, you probably remember the crash this spring of two Metro-North commuter trains in Connecticut. Although 2012 was the safest year in railroading history, the Metro-North crash reminds us that--when it comes to safety--our job is never done.
The investments we’re making in rail are increasing safety across the country. They are also helping local and state economies grow.
From technology to financing, we must use every tool at our disposal
When we talk about making transportation safer and stronger, and being more efficient as we improve the roads, rails, bridges, and buses we leave for the next generation of Americans, we're not talking about filling in potholes. We're talking about a transportation system that is stronger for the long-term. And to make that happen, we need every tool in the box...and a few we haven't even thought of yet.
Because just as the men and women of today need to be able to get to jobs or school without having to fight traffic or stand in the hot summer sun waiting for the bus, our kids and the kids of our neighbors and friends will need transportation that works tomorrow.
They are counting on us to give them an America that is stronger than the one we inherited--just as those who came before us left a rail network that stretched from coast to coast and then an interstate highway network that connected communities across the nation. From new technologies to public private partnerships, we must use every tool at our disposal to make our transportation system better.
FTA-funded doubling of popular light rail line will connect downtown to UNC, ease traffic, put thousands to work
At the Federal Transit Administration, we know that improved transportation has been one of the best examples of what one generation can leave to the next. And yesterday, at the groundbreaking for the 9.3-mile extension of its popular LYNX light rail Blue Line, I saw the city of Charlotte, NC, affirm that idea.
The new extension will double the length of the existing light rail system, create new development opportunities along the line, and significantly expand transit options for thousands of residents and students in the rapidly growing Charlotte region.
PHMSA cuts red tape, steps up efficiency for businesses
Earlier today, Secretary Foxx wrote about DOT efforts to improve efficiency in transportation. Recent changes to the approval process for transporting consumer fireworks offer a terrific example of DOT stepping up to meet this challenge.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has revised the process to speed approvals while continuing to meet strict safety requirements. Adding an efficient transport certification process will allow importers and shippers to get their goods to buyers with less delay and less red tape.
Smart general aviation pilots won’t fly if they are taking a prescription that says Do not drive or operate machinery while taking this medication. But sometimes it’s not that clear-cut. Other prescription drugs and even some over-the-counter medicines can affect a pilot’s performance.
That’s why Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta and the heads of 11 aviation associations sent a letter to all U.S.-registered pilots urging them to be more aware of the effect both prescribed medicines and non-prescription drugs can have on their skills and judgment.
During my public swearing-in at DOT headquarters last week, I said that this Administration has an important mission: to build a stronger America, to create jobs, and to prepare the next generation to succeed in a global economy. For DOT that means working to improve the efficiency and performance of our existing transportation system. But, it means doing so in an era when we must work harder than ever to stretch our transportation dollar.
That's no small challenge. The American people are counting on us to be good stewards of their tax dollars even as we also build and maintain the roads, bridges, ports, buses, rails, and runways they need.
The good news? This Department has been getting better and better at improving the way we deliver the benefits of transportation to the American people.
At a time when millions of Americans are traveling or thinking about summer travel on our roadways, there is no time like the present to stay focused on driving safety. A moment's distraction behind the wheel can be all it takes to turn your summer vacation into a tragic crash.
Fortunately, DOT has terrific safety partners to help get the word out that distracted driving threatens the safety of everyone on the road. AAA and the Automobile Club of Southern California have teamed up with DreamWorks Animation for a special public service announcement aimed at reducing distracted driving.
The PSA features AAA IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves and Turbo, a character from the new 3D racing comedy, Turbo. Together, these two "drivers" do a great job sharing a great message!