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Ensuring that producers and suppliers can ship freight effectively from coast to coast and to markets around the world is a key part of the DOT mission. But when American forces are deployed abroad, the cargo supporting their efforts becomes particularly important, and our Maritime Administration (MARAD) works hard to sustain our troops with the food, equipment, and personnel they need to do their jobs and return home safely.

Yesterday at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, Acting Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip" Jaenichen reminded students that "logistics matter." The business of moving, supplying, and maintaining our joint forces is critical to their success. Logistics determine whether we can deploy a force at all; they determine where and when we can do so; and they determine the tempo and reach with which our forces can fight.

Acting Administrator Jaenichen also made it clear to students that, when it comes to logistics, MARAD has their backs.

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New lanes, safety improvements coming to I-35W in Tarrant County

During his public swearing-in, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, "We're living in an era in which we have to work harder than we ever have to stretch our transportation dollars even further. The American people are counting on us to be good stewards of their tax dollars—while still maintaining and building the infrastructure they need."

Last week, DOT took another step forward in that mission when the Federal Highway Administration announced a TIFIA loan for I-35W in Tarrant County, Texas. The North Tarrant Express project will relieve one of the Lone Star State’s most congested corridors and improve safety by upgrading the expressway and adding two new lanes in each direction.

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On Friday, the NextGen Institute held its annual public meeting, and I was pleased to speak about DOT’s commitment to investing in the aviation infrastructure America needs to thrive in the 21st century.

The Institute is a partnership between the Federal Aviation Administration and the aviation industry to work together on the definition, goals, development, and implementation of our Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

Our airspace system has served us well for over a half century.  The challenge we face today is ensuring that this system will continue to serve us well in the future.

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Last week, we wrote about the safety efforts of the It Can Wait campaign, which is urging everyone to pledge to never text and drive and to ask others to do the same.

Today, we want to thank the young safety advocates who attended the 2013 National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit.

In addition to those who came to Washington, DC, for Friday's summit, we're also grateful to the NOYS advocates who couldn't make the trip but who work year-round in their schools and communities to promote safe driving.

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On Tuesday, FRA issued Final State Rail Plan Guidance to assist States in their ongoing effort to plan for and invest in a higher-performing rail network.

The guidance will help States better identify their transportation challenges and understand the role that rail – freight and passenger – can play in ensuring the safe, reliable and efficient movement of people and goods. 

State rail plans are the blueprint, and the forerunner of all projects to come.  Any time states apply for federal funding, planning must be complete in order to compete effectively for these funds. A rail plan puts states in a much better position to have projects ready for funding when and if funding becomes available. The guidance FRA issued Tuesday will help them develop market-based solutions and increase their readiness. 

Photo of Amtrak Cities Sprinter locomotive

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The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is an international organization of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Like everyone here at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the members of CVSA share a single purpose--to keep the commercial vehicles and drivers on our roadways moving safely.

Earlier this week at the CVSA Annual Conference in Denver, I gave our safety partners a brief overview of FMCSA’s accomplishments and priorities.

Photo of Anne Ferro at C.V.S.A. podium

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If you support the nationwide effort to end texting while driving, today is a day to take the fight to the next level.  With Drive 4 Pledges Day, the people behind the effective It Can Wait campaign are urging you to pledge to never text and drive and to ask others to do the same.

Sharing your commitment has never been easier, thanks to ItCanWait.com.  There, you can get resources to help you personalize your efforts and spread your message on social media. From profile and cover pics to hashtags, ItCanWait.com has everything you need to make this important cause your own.

Screen capture of the it-can-wait-dot-com website

As Transportation Secretary Foxx said, "Texting while driving claims too many lives, and raising awareness of this completely preventable tragedy is key to saving them.”

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Let's protect our most vulnerable passengers

Year in and year out, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dedicates itself to ensuring the safety of the American public on our nation’s highways. Nowhere is that commitment stronger than in our high-priority efforts to ensure the safety of children.

And Child Passenger Safety Week is an opportunity to recognize –and advance – that effort.

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Like most colleges across the nation in early September, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY, has seen a burst of activity in the past couple of weeks.  And although I'm sure many Academy fans would rather hear about the Mariners' 27-20 win over the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Bears in last weekend's football matchup, I'll lead off with a few words about Acceptance Day.

Photo of VADM Braun swearing midshipmen into US Navy Reserve

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Yesterday was a terrible day for our community.  Our colleagues at the Navy Yard experienced an incomprehensible act of violence that resulted in loss of life and disruption of everyday life for so many.

Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this senseless tragedy and the victims who are recuperating from their injuries.  Our thoughts and prayers are also with the many people traumatized by this long and frightening ordeal.

We are very appreciative of the bravery shown by the many first responders, who acted so selflessly to protect the people who live and work in the area.  Our thanks cannot meet the measure of their courage and willingness to sacrifice for the safety of others. 

Photo of DOT H.Q. with flags at half-mast
DOT Headquarters with flags at half-mast; photo courtesy Arthur Dexter.

We are further grateful for the help provided by DOT employees yesterday to our Navy Yard colleagues. 

I'm also very grateful that no one at DOT Headquarters was hurt, and I'm proud of the professionalism that everyone at DOT showed by remaining calm and patient throughout the day.

We at DOT share with our Navy Yard colleagues a commitment to public service. Today, we will do our best to return to that commitment.

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