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Yesterday, I visited a site that should serve as a reminder, to both Democrats and Republicans, that we can still find common ground. 

The Atlanta metro region enjoys one of the fastest growing populations and economies in the country, which means it also suffers from some of the worst congestion.

To help unjam that traffic, state and local leaders – including leading Republicans like Governor Nathan Deal, and Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson – have worked to build reversible lanes on Atlanta’s Northwest Corridor. And that includes me, a former Democratic Mayor who now serves under a Democratic President.

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If you want to make safety for children in the United States a national priority--and here at DOT, we do--one way of doing so is by holding an event that brings lawmakers from both sides of the aisle together. So, kudos to Safe Kids Worldwide for doing just that on Wednesday at Safe Kids Capitol Day.

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One of the United States Maritime Administration’s top priorities is to recruit, empower and support women in the maritime industry.

We’ve established two different diversity committees at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) to increase the number of female midshipmen and faculty members. It’s also why the Department of Transportation (DOT) has created the Women and Girls Program, which encourages women to pursue transportation careers.

Continue Reading Paving the Way for Women ››
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For more than half a century, seat belts have been commonplace in cars, and they have saved thousands of lives and prevented millions of injuries. Now, thanks to a final rule from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts will be saving lives and preventing injuries in America's motorcoaches, too.

NHTSA's rule requires lap and shoulder seat belts for every passenger and driver seat on newly manufactured motorcoaches and other large buses by November 2016. The rule will improve road safety by reducing the risk of death and serious injury in frontal crashes and lowering the risk of occupant ejection in rollover crashes.

As Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro said, “Buckling up is the most effective way to prevent deaths and injuries in all vehicular crashes, including motorcoaches."

Continue Reading Seat belt rule another step ››
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Cross-posted courtesy Huffington Post.

Nothing gives you a new perspective on life like raising children. Mine have made me look at almost everything in a new light, including technology. As the father of two young kids, I know the invaluable role that technology plays in keeping families close.

It helps keep us close when I'm traveling -- I can call to hear about their day, and I even maintain a running game of Words with Friends with my daughter (she lets me win). But here's what I also know: As much as mobile devices can keep families connected, there is one place where they can disconnect families permanently.

And that's on the road.

Photo of texting driver

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With the U.S. population projected to grow by 90 million people over the next 30 years, and strong evidence that access to affordable transportation plays a significant role in social and economic mobility, we must face this challenge head on. Even in a difficult fiscal and political climate.

But, let's remember one of the key lessons in American history: challenging times can present opportunities to find new allies, a fresh vision, and creative, new approaches to long-standing problems . I am proud to say that this Department is pressing forward in a number of exciting and transformative policy areas. And yesterday, at the launch of Transportation For America's (T4A) new alliance to help revitalize our nation's investment in transportation, I highlighted one of my favorites --Ladders of Opportunity. 

As a former mayor, Transportation Secretary Foxx is especially focused on transportation investments and policies that connect people safely to jobs, education, and health care; that grow local economies and the U.S. economy; and that improve quality of life.

Transportation for America logo

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From the President and Vice President to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, and many others at DOT, the Obama Administration is working to keep the economy--and the freight that fuels it--moving forward. From ports to rail to roads, America needs a coordinated effort to keep our economic arteries flowing as effectively as possible.

Yesterday, as part of that ongoing effort, we proposed designating a series of highways as a Primary Freight Network.

Photo of truck approaching cargo port

Designating these sections of highway will help the States direct their road maintenance and improvement resources where they can have the biggest economic impact. As Administrator Mendez said, "By identifying critical freight highways, we will focus more attention on the routes upon which America’s businesses rely."

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With the opening Friday of a fourth tube in the Caldecott Tunnel, commuters in the Bay Area will turn the page on a new chapter in transportation.

It’s a chapter about the effectiveness of partnership, a partnership of dedicated workers, a 130-ton rock-cutting drill, the state of California, and –I’m proud to say– the U.S. Department of Transportation. How effective? As the Contra Costa Times reported, the new lanes opened ahead of schedule and under budget.

Photot of workers putting finishing touches on Caldecott Tunnel tube
Workers put finishing touches on new Caldecott bore; all photos courtesy Caltrans.
Continue Reading 4th bore partnership helps ››
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Yesterday, I addressed the members of the National League of Cities, and it was a pleasure to be among leaders who understand the value of investing in America's transportation. Because League members know that, last year, drivers in this country's cities spent an average of 42 hours stuck in traffic. That's more than a week of full-time work.

Photo of a congested suburban road

This isn't to say the United States doesn't have the best transportation system in the world. We do.

Rather, the problems we’re witnessing in our cities are in large part problems of congestion. And those are problems that we know won’t go away on their own; in fact, population pressures will make them worse.

By 2042, America’s population will swell by nearly a third, up almost 90 million –with 19 new metropolitan areas reaching the million-person mark...

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"Significant and Seamless" initiative will accelerate new technologies to reduce key safety risks

Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that, while highway deaths over the past five years continue to remain at historic lows, the number of deaths on U.S. roads increased to 33,561 in 2012, up 3.3 percent from 2011.

To a Department where safety is always our number one priority, any increase in the number of traffic fatalities is cause for concern. 

That’s why NHTSA today announced a new effort that involves the agency and the automotive industry working together to aggressively accelerate technologies that would improve safety by targeting some of the most persistent causes of traffic fatalities.

Graphic of crash avoidance technology

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