As both a parent and the Secretary of Transportation, I know the importance of providing safe transportation to our nation's children as they go to school each day. For millions of America's children and teens, that means the familiar yellow school bus.
And on Friday, at Oak Hill Elementary School in High Point, NC, I joined Principal Ashton Wheeler Clemmons, Guilford County School Superintendent Maurice Green, and High Point Mayor Bernita Sims in a Love The Bus celebration to give those buses and their drivers the thanks they deserve.
The data on school transportation are clear--the safest way to get our most precious cargo to school and home each day is on a large school bus with a well-trained driver.
As part of DOT’s comprehensive response to recent derailments of trains carrying crude oil, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx held a call-to-action meeting with the rail community last month to identify immediate steps that could be taken to improve safety. Today, little more than a month later, DOT and the nation's major freight railroads announced steps to help ensure that crude oil transported by rail moves safely from its origin to its destination.
Railroads have agreed to:
- Increased track inspections--beyond what is required by federal regulations--on routes with trains carrying 20 or more carloads of crude oil;
- Better braking technology allowing for faster stopping and a decreased likelihood of pileup;
- Traffic routing technology that uses the Rail Corridor Risk Management System to determine the safest and most secure routes for trains carrying 20 or more carloads of crude oil;
- Lower speeds through designated urban areas for trains carrying at least one older DOT-111 car; and
- Other steps including working with communities along crude oil rail transport routes, increased trackside safety technology, specialized training for local first responders, and emergency response capability planning.
I was thrilled to be back in Los Angeles yesterday on behalf of Secretary Foxx to sign a $670 million grant award with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) for a truly game-changing project called the Regional Connector.
And it was great to be joined on this red-letter day by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressman Xavier Becerra, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Mayor Eric Garcetti— all great champions for public transportation.
This is the latest in a growing list of public transportation projects transforming this region for the better by improving access to jobs, education, health care, and other ladders of opportunity that help hard-working residents achieve their dreams...
Just about every mayor in America can tell a story about a business considering locating in his or her city, with hundreds, sometimes thousands of jobs in the balance. Invariably, the business representative will bring up a road, a curb cut, or bridge that needs to be built or repaired to make a potential site work.
This morning, I had the opportunity to speak to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and my message to those business leaders was the same as it was when I was a mayor: "We want to build the transportation infrastructure that supports the economic growth and jobs you create."
During the past few months, I have been extraordinarily fortunate to visit several of America's ports with both President Obama and Vice President Biden. Yesterday, when Vice President Biden and I visited America's Central Port in Granite City, Illinois, we were both fortunate to be joined by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and--in particular--by a favorite son of Illinois and a favorite of the U.S. Department of Transportation, former Secretary Ray LaHood.
Being joined by former Secretary LaHood at America's Central Port is special because he is one of only a few people who know how good a job I have--in fact, he has said more than once that being Secretary was the best job of his three decades in public service. It's also special because he knows as well as anyone how important America's interior ports are to the future of our nation's economy.
Yesterday, we all had the chance to see America's Central Port, including the construction underway at the new South Harbor. When it’s finished, the project will connect four interstate highways and major rail lines so that businesses can move their goods faster from the factory to the river and then down the river to market.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama committed to a Year of Action in which he would do what he can to expand opportunity for all so that every American can get ahead and have a shot at creating a better life for their kids. As part of that, he promised to set "new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump."
Today, the President followed up on that promise by setting the timetable for the Administration's second round of fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy vehicles, which will bolster energy security, cut carbon pollution, and support manufacturing innovation, all while saving businesses and consumers money.
As a result, DOT and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by March of next year, with the new greenhouse gas standards--covering the 2018 model year and beyond--becoming final by March 2016...
President Obama makes today's heavy-truck fuel efficiency announcement at a Safeway distribution center in Upper Marlboro, MD. Photo is courtesy of Getty Images.
On February 17, 2009--five years ago--President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In office less than a month, he took a huge step forward in leading this nation out of its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. At the U.S. Department of Transportation, we knew the important role transportation could play in getting the economy back on its feet and when given the opportunity to help through Recovery Act funds, we said, "Yes, we can."
Five years later, DOT is proud to say, "Yes, we did."
This Valentine’s Day, FMCSA wants professional drivers to know we care about their health and well-being, and that now there are more resources than ever to maintain heart-healthy routines on the road.
A few months ago, I went on a ride-along with a very experienced owner-operator, and we traveled from Maryland to Missouri. Riding along with this remarkable professional driver provided an eye opening view into the stress a professional driver faces in managing unpredictable schedules demanded by shippers and receivers. America’s five million truck and bus drivers operate within tight budgets; battle relentless road congestion; and manage multiple priorities to keep their commitment to their customers.
Those two days also gave me a better understanding of the challenges a driver faces when trying to take care of personal needs, food, stretching, and exercising. Time is short for exercise, and too often healthy food choices aren’t readily available...
The U.S. maritime industry continues to become greener each day as federal agencies, research centers, and ports work to reduce the industry's impact on our environment. Industry stakeholders understand how green business practices can significantly improve their bottom line while also helping ensure healthier waterways and port communities as well as a healthier workplace for maritime workers.
That’s why the Maritime Administration is partnering with the Department of Energy (DOE) and Sandia National Laboratories to explore the potential cost savings and emissions reductions through the use of hydrogen fuel cells to provide electrical power to ships at berths. This approach has the potential to offer a double bonus--first, allowing vessel operators to shut down diesel engines while in port, and second, using hydrogen fuel cells instead of carbon-based electrical power sources...
We've had plenty of unusual winter weather this year--from the warm weather in Alaska to the Polar Vortex sweeping the country to yet another strong winter storm today disrupting the Southeast, Mid Atlantic and New England, it's been anything but ordinary. And in Massena, NY, home of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, it’s been downright cold.
But when I visited Massena last Friday to see the winter asset maintenance work on the Saint Lawrence Seaway, I was impressed--despite the chilly temperatures, strong winds, and plentiful snow, I didn’t hear one complaint about the weather.