Today, National Maritime Day, we commemorate the courage, service, and sacrifice of the men and women of the United States Merchant Marine, who since the founding of our republic have played crucial roles ensuring our nation’s security and expanding our economy.
Today, the U.S. Merchant Marine continues to serve in support of the Department of Defense —delivering more than 90 percent of the cargo needed to support military operations and reconstruction efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
While America’s merchant mariners remain vital to our national security, at the same time they continue to support our economy. During times of peace, merchant mariners have reliably crewed U.S.-Flag vessels to carry American imports and exports to and from our shores. With more than 75 percent of our international trade goods currently moving by water, merchant mariners are a fundamental facilitator of modern American life...
I am pleased to share that on May 19, Bill Bronrott, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), received the distinguished Road Safety Champion award, presented by the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
We are very proud that Bill has been recognized for his passionate commitment and achievements towards greater transportation safety. He has helped lead our agency’s efforts to raise the bar for commercial bus and truck safety through his service at DOT...
Today we announced $2.1 billion in federal support to help build the 3.9-mile Westside Purple Line Extension from downtown Los Angeles to the City of Beverly Hills, expanding transit options in one of the most congested corridors in Los Angeles County.
In December of last year, Los Angeles County hit a demographic milestone, becoming the first county in America with more than 10 million people. L.A. County actually has more people than 43 of our States, and if it were its own country, it would be the 88th most populous nation in the world.
Imagine the challenge of moving those 10 million people to and from work, school, and other places every day, and suddenly it's no surprise that a region famous for so many good things is also famous for its traffic jams. That's what makes the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) such a critical part of the region. It's also what has led LACMTA to extend its existing transit lines...
As warmer weather settles in, the signs of summer are multiplying--community pools are gearing up for their Memorial Day Weekend opening, schools are holding graduation ceremonies, and families are planning vacation travel.
One thing that doesn't change with the season is DOT's effort to protect Americans when they travel by air. Thanks to our Aviation Consumer Protection Division, we're constantly working to protect people from the moment they begin planning their air travel to the moment they pick up their checked luggage. And today we're proposing new rules to strengthen that protection.
Today’s proposal would require airlines and ticket agents to disclose their fees for certain basic airline services such as checked baggage. It would require more carriers to report their performance data to DOT so consumers can be better informed. And, it would put into law DOT’s definition of a ticket agent so companies that get compensated for offering flight search tools stick to the rules.
The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is not just truck and bus safety; it also includes the safety of those operating around America's commercial vehicles.
In fact, most crashes involving a commercial vehicle --nearly 70 percent-- are not caused by the truck or bus driver. So one of FMCSA's ongoing safety efforts is educating non-commercial drivers about the handling differences between cars and large trucks and motorcoaches. Young drivers in particular need to learn how to maneuver safely near large vehicles and avoid creating situations that endanger themselves and others. It's not always something they pick up in driver's ed courses, but out there on the road, it's lifesaving information.
That's why, in May, FMCSA kicked off Global Youth Traffic Safety Month by joining forces with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), Fed Ex Ground, and the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) in a “Teens & Trucks – Share the Road Safely” event. Near the National Mall, troopers from the Maryland State Police led demonstrations to show students from NOYS how to safeguard themselves as drivers, bicyclists or pedestrians around big trucks.
Yesterday, I visited two long-awaited projects in Florida, stopping first in Miami. That's where, last May, a giant drill named Harriet bored its way under the bay and broke through on Watson Island and the Port of Miami.
The Port’s new tunnels certainly are good for the city. The port moves thousands of containers every day, and one-in-five North American cruise passengers pass through there. Yet, before yesterday, the 16,000 vehicles traveling to the port each day only had one access point, so traffic backed up all the way to downtown.
The tunnels that opened yesterday will help help solve that problem, and their construction employed more than 500 people.
Right now, on the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the Dutch-owned vessel Fortunagracht is making its way toward Antwerp, Belgium, laden with cargo for export from businesses throughout Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and other Midwest states.
The Fortunagracht is the linchpin of the new Cleveland-Europe Express service, a two-year agreement between the Port of Cleveland and the Spliethoff Group, the Netherlands' largest ship-owner. The agreement guarantees direct monthly service between Cleveland and Antwerp, providing Midwest manufacturers a better deal than sending their goods by truck or rail to an East Coast port for eventual shipment across the Atlantic.
According to Forbes Magazine, Austin is the fastest growing city in America this year. But with all that growth can come some growing pains. And one example of those pains can be seen on US 290, east of downtown Austin, where traffic has increased more than 78 percent since 1990.
And that has left folks stuck in congestion--every day. Luckily, things are looking up for local residents with the opening of the new Manor Expressway –a 6.2 mile limited-access toll road that is tripling the capacity of US 290 between US 183 and SH 130.
The benefits of this project can’t be overstated. It will improve safety for drivers. It will reduce congestion –and vehicle emissions. And it will make transportation more efficient in Austin – creating jobs, increasing business opportunities, and improving quality of life.
I visited Austin on Saturday morning to celebrate the opening of the new Manor Expressway –a 6.2 mile limited-access toll road that is tripling the capacity of US 290 between US 183 and SH 130.
The benefits of this project can’t be understated. It will improve safety for drivers. It will reduce congestion –and vehicle emissions. And it will make transportation more efficient in Austin – creating jobs, increasing business opportunities, and improving quality of life.
At this Department, our top priority is ensuring the safety of the traveling public. It always has been.
Achieving that goal isn’t easy. It takes commitment from everyone with a stake in our transportation system. And we know no one is perfect. But what we cannot tolerate –what we will never accept– is a person or a company that knows danger exists, and says nothing.
Because silence can kill.
This morning, I was not about to let a little weather keep me from greeting the bicyclists who braved the rain on my first Bike To Work Day since becoming Transportation Secretary!
So I headed to Freedom Plaza, and was amazed to see that bike commuters were really coming out for this event despite the downpour. That's a tribute to their love of commuting by bicycle and also to the growing significance of Bike To Work Day as an annual celebration of bicycling as transportation.
Photos courtesy Matt Kroneberger, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
And it is something worth celebrating. In fact, over the last decade, commuting by bicycle is up more than 60 percent...