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The moment we’ve all been waiting for is upon us. Winter is finally going away, the days are getting longer, and soon, we hope, they will be warmer. That means more time outside reviving the lawn and giving our gardens the love they need to spring up in style.

It also means that many of the personal and commercial construction projects on hold during the winter chill will now resume.

These are activities worth getting excited about, but when it comes to digging, we need to temper our enthusiasm with a does of safety sense: Excavation damage remains a leading cause of serious pipeline incidents...

Photo of a damaged pipeline

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Cross-posted from www.whitehouse.gov

A couple of months ago, my nine-year-old daughter came into my office with a list of priorities, things she would do if she had my job as Secretary of Transportation. (Her first priority, by the way, was to move every seat on the plane into first-class.)

Besides being one of those moments that every father wants to have on videotape, it was also a small reminder of what we know at the U.S. Department of Transportation: that there are many young girls who dream of a job in transportation – of learning to fly, for instance, or of becoming an engineer who designs a magnificent bridge.

Supporting these dreams isn’t something we should just do as parents; it’s something we should do as a nation.

Photo collage of Amelia Earhart, Emily Roebling, Elizabeth Dole, and Mary Peters

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After one of the colder, snowier winters in recent memory, spring is no longer just around the corner. Today, it has officially arrived.

The signs are everywhere: March Madness, spring training, school vacations. Gardening enthusiasts are laying the groundwork for planting. Winter's debris is being raked from lawns. And in the transportation business, more and more Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) is being produced and placed as road work gets underway around the country...

Close-up photo of paving drum

Continue Reading Signs of Spring! March ››
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Today, the Department of Justice charged Toyota with defrauding consumers by issuing misleading statements about two safety issues that caused unintended acceleration in some of its vehicles. At the same time, the Department of Justice announced a deferred prosecution agreement with the automaker, under which the company admits that it misled U.S. consumers and pays a $1.2 billion penalty. DOT worked closely with the Department of Justice to help achieve this outcome.

As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, “When car owners get behind the wheel, they have a right to expect that their vehicle is safe.  If any part of the automobile turns out to have safety issues, the car company has a duty to be upfront about them, to fix them quickly, and to immediately tell the truth about the problem and its scope. Toyota violated that basic compact."

I couldn't agree more. And I echo the Attorney General's message that, "Other car companies should not repeat Toyota’s mistake."

Photo of Secretary Foxx and Attorney General Holder, credit Susan Walsh, AP

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The entire U.S.Merchant Marine Academy community is proud of our rich history of service. Since the Academy was established in 1943, Kings Point alumni have served in every overseas conflict and have assisted communities here at home during crises and natural disasters like the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Sandy.

This month, that proud traditions continues as CPT David Taliaferro (USMMA '07) leads 130 soldiers of the New York Army National Guard's 133rd Quartermaster Company during their mobilization and deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom...

Photo of RADM Helis and Cpt. Taliaferro

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Last week, I had a chance to visit with the National Congress of American Indians to talk about President Obama's transportation budget proposal and what it means for our tribal lands.  And the news was very good.

We all know that transportation isn't just about how we get from one point to another – it's, what President Obama likes to call, a ladder of opportunity.

This is especially true in Indian Country, where a rebuilt road or a new transit system can make the difference in a child getting to school, a father getting to work, or a tribal elder getting to the doctor...

Photo of road work on Jicarilla Apache tribal land

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It's no secret that tax-related filings create a lot of paperwork, but do you know the second biggest paperwork burden from federal regulations?

If you said, "hours-of-service recordkeeping for interstate truck and bus drivers," then you are correct. But not for long, thanks to a proposed rulemaking from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Last week, FMCSA proposed a rule requiring interstate commercial truck and bus companies to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in their vehicles. ELDs record a driver's record of service behind the wheel to improve compliance with the safety rules that govern the number of hours a driver can work. The new rule will improve the quality of hours-of-service data and help reduce crashes by fatigued drivers, preventing approximately 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year for an annual safety benefit of $394.8 million...

Photo of a woman in the cab of a red truck

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In mid-December 2013--after four high-profile accidents in six months on the Metro-North commuter railroad--the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) launched Operation Deep Dive, a comprehensive, 60-day safety investigation of Metro-North. Today, we're releasing the results of that detailed review in a report to Congress.

The report indicates that "Metro-North’s management emphasizes on-time performance to the detriment of safe operations and adequate maintenance of its infrastructure, resulting in a deficient safety culture, increased risk and reduced safety on the Metro-North system."

December 1 Metro-North crash at Spuyten Duyvil, photo courtesy Robert Stolarik for The New York Times
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When President Obama and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced funding availability for DOT's 2014 TIGER grants a couple of weeks ago, transportation advocates got pretty excited.

And for all those who asked, "What's a TIGER grant?" the city of Indianapolis has a great answer: DOT's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program fills in a critical funding gap and allows communities to pursue projects that offer a wide range of benefits.

What did Indy do with its $20.5 million 2009 TIGER award? It leveraged it into a $62.5 million mix of public and private funding and created an 8-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail that the New York Times called, "an accessible urban connective tissue."

Photo of busy scene along Indianapolis Cultural Trail

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Yesterday, I went to Capitol Hill to deliver the urgent messages of thousands of mayors, governors, and other leaders from across the country.

The messages I brought to the House Appropriations subcommittee on "Transportation, Housing & Urban Development, and Related Agencies" are all variations on the same theme: After years of short-term, last-minute measures, it's time for Congress to step up and bring some stability to how we fund our nation's transportation system.

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