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The High-Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail program (HSIPR) doesn’t just mean faster trains and improved transportation choices for travelers across the country – it’s also strengthening the economy and creating jobs for people who may have never been on a train.  So far, the US Department of Transportation has invested $808 million in multi-state procurements of next-generation rail equipment. What have we got in return?

Across the country, our Buy America program, which requires 100% of all rail equipment to be American made, is spurring economic growth and laying a foundation for a passenger rail network that is safer, faster, more reliable, and offers more service.

Photo of Siemens Cities Sprinter locomotive, designed for Amtrak use

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Whether you're staying home, hitting the road, riding the rails, or taking to the skies this holiday season, we at the U.S. Department of Transportation want you to be as safe as possible. And while we can't offer you much in the way of safety advice for staying in one place, we can help you out when you're on the move.

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Receives "Partner of the Office of Water" Award for 2012

At DOT’s Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), we are hard at work strengthening America’s marine transportation system to meet our economic and security needs while ensuring that our waterways are environmentally sustainable.

That’s why it gives me great pleasure to share the news that, earlier this week, Deputy Administrator Craig Middlebrook was awarded the “Partner of the Office of Water Award” for 2012 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for his outstanding leadership supporting environmental protection in the Great Lakes region.

Photo of Deputy Administrator MIddlebrook receiving the EPA award

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s more than 55,000 employees know that transportation is a vital economic engine, and they come to work every day on a mission to make transportation as safe and efficient as possible. That's why we're committed to making DOT one of the best places to work in the federal government.

And it's why we're happy to learn that, in the 2013 rankings of Best Places to Work released today, the Department is ranked as the 8th best among large federal agencies. This is up one notch from 2012 and marks the continued success of a deliberate turnaround underway since ranking last in the 2009 survey.

We're also happy to report that the Surface Transportation Bureau once again ranked 1st among small agencies, and the Federal Highway Administration ranked as the 5th best place to work among subcomponent agencies...

Photo of D.O.T. headquarters

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Congratulations to the faculty and staff here at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY.  Their achievements this year--honored last week at the annual Maritime Administration awards ceremony--are a testament to the continued improvements being carried out every day at the Academy.

The dedication of the entire USMMA faculty and staff is felt far beyond the walls of the Academy, and I hope you'll join me in thanking them for their service...

Photo of the bell at Kings Point

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This is traditionally a season for giving, for selflessness.  And I can’t think of anything more antithetical to that spirit--anything more selfish--than drinking, getting behind the wheel, and risking not just your own life, but the lives of others.

Photo of a police car with siren lit and the text "It's hard to have a happy holiday when you're arrested for drunk driving."

Yet every December and January, after Christmas celebrations and New Year’s parties, people still do exactly that. And they do it in greater numbers than at any other time of year.  In fact, every 54 minutes during the holiday season, drunk driving claims another life.

That’s why today, I joined National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland to remind people that if they do decide to drink and drive, the red lights they see in their rear-view mirror won’t be Santa’s sleigh. They’ll be a police car.

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Each year, DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration sponsor the Secretary's RAISE Award (Recognizing Aviation and Aerospace Innovation in Science and Engineering) to encourage high school, college and university students to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to aviation challenges.

Photo of two airliners landing on parallel runways

The ability to move people and cargo safely and efficiently from coast to coast and everywhere in between means that America's aviation system not only contributes directly to our economy; it also helps the nation's non-aviation businesses compete economically. If we want our aviation system--and our economy--to remain competitive, we must aim high and innovate. And that means we need students who are trained in science, technology, engineering, and math.

This year's RAISE Award winner, Kyle Smith, and the collision avoidance system he proposed are exactly what American aviation needs to continue raising the bar worldwide.

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Yesterday, the Federal Railroad Administration  announced a 60-day, comprehensive safety assessment of Metro-North Commuter Railroad in response to the December 1st crash.

Operation Deep Dive will deploy a team of DOT rail safety experts to exhaustively review Metro-North’s compliance with federal regulations, its procedures and practices, and its safety culture.

Photo of Metro-North train at station

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Every day in America, a tremendous number of people travel by motorcoach.  In fact, fifteen percent more trips are taken on motorcoaches than on airplanes. 

That's why we're on the front lines of motorcoach safety.  This week we announced the results of an unprecedented eight-month push called “Operation Quick Strike” to shut down unsafe motorcoach companies. 

The outcome?  Fifty-two bus companies and 340 buses put out of service and removed from the road.

Photo of motorcoach inspection

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Yesterday, we honored the individual and team achievements of the hardworking professionals of DOT with our 46th annual Secretary's Awards. It was truly a celebration.

But among all of the terrific personnel we celebrated, we had the opportunity to single out one of our family for special distinction: Deputy Secretary John Porcari...

Photo of 46th annual Secretary's Awards at D.O.T.

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