Historic consumer rules keep air travelers protected
The holiday travel season is upon us, and it's an exciting time of year for visiting loved ones, hitting the slopes, or escaping the cold. Wherever you and your family are heading, we at DOT want your travel to be as stress-free as possible.
That’s why we’re pleased to report that airline consumer complaints filed with our Aviation Consumer Protection Division between January and September 2013 were down 14.1 percent from the first nine months of 2012. In addition, complaints filed in September 2013 were down 6.8 percent from September 2012.
I often say that, for all the work we do at the Department of Transportation, safety is by far the most important.
Nothing else comes close.
The fact is, we could have the most state-of-the art vehicles in the world, but none of it would matter if the roads they drove on weren't safe --or vice versa. And thanks to the efforts of this Department and of automobile and truck manufacturers, State DOTs, and so many others, we've been able to make progress through the decades toward greater safety.
The work of making our roads safer doesn’t get easier--the more progress we make, the harder it is to move the needle further on safety.
Today, the Obama Administration is holding its 5th Tribal Nations Conference, and we at DOT are proud to be part of the President’s initiative to build a more respectful, collaborative relationship that moves our nations closer to our shared goals. One of those shared goals is improving transportation.
And that is a key part of our mission at DOT. We are committed to ensuring that everyone –regardless of where you live– has access to safe transportation.
Today, I’m happy to announce the latest evidence of that commitment as we award $8.6 million to 183 tribes to increase transportation safety on their lands. These new funds will help improve and protect the roads for everyone who depends on them.
Photo courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior.
Relocating can be one of the most exciting and important decisions a family or individual makes.
When families relocate, they’re choosing more than just a house or apartment: they are also selecting the schools, job opportunities, green spaces and other characteristics that come with that community. And, at the center of it all is a community’s transportation network because people need to get to work, kids need to get to school, and families need to get to critical services.
That’s why, HUD and DOT have launched the Location Affordability Portal, a user-friendly tool that helps consumers calculate the true cost of their combined housing and transportation expenses, helping them make more informed decisions about where to live and work.
When people ask me about my priorities as Transportation Secretary, I always say that safety must come first at DOT.
But we must do more than ensure safety and maintain our current infrastructure. With the U.S. population expected to grow by 100 million in the next 30 years, we must also make sure our transportation system is prepared to meet that growing demand. It will be a big challenge, but it also represents a powerful opportunity.
On Monday, November 11, Americans across the country will honor our veterans and their families for their tireless work and the sacrifices that have kept our nation safe. And DOT is proud to thank these great heroes for their service by making the transition to civilian careers in transportation easier.
Our veterans have the skills and experience to help rebuild America, so we want to put them to work in the skies, on the roads, and throughout our transit and rail systems.
The experience of these U.S. Navy air traffic controllers should translate into the civilian workplace.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting CSX's Northwest Ohio Terminal with Vice President Joe Biden. It's not our first trip to a key freight hub together. Last month, the Vice President and I visited the Ports of Baltimore, Charleston, and Savannah.
Why freight hubs? Because this Administration knows that moving freight is the lifeblood of our economy.
Our nation is undergoing a significant demographic shift. By 2050, the number of Americans aged 65 and older will more than double, while those 85 and older could increase fivefold. This population can face challenges that include increased poverty, isolation, and difficulty accessing medical care.
DOT has long been committed to helping older Americans continue to live with dignity in urban and rural communities alike by making a special effort to meet the transportation and mobility needs of America’s seniors.
Just a few days ago, I finished a ride-along with Leo Wilkins, an owner operator I met at the OOIDA Safety Awards presentation in Kansas City. Leo has logged 21 years of accident-free driving, and from Sunday morning until Monday afternoon, I rode with him from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, to St. Louis--with stops along the way in Harrisburg, Indianapolis, and Riverton, Illinois.
My goal was to experience what drivers experience when they are on the road and see how the programs we put in place at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration really mean to an owner operator.
FMCSA Administrator (right) joined Leo Wilkins in his 2012 Peterbilt 379 from Marlboro, MD, to St. Louis. Photo courtesy OOIDA.
For the second straight season, NASCAR driver David Ragan's #34 car carried safety messaging from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).