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The turkey is now leftovers. The excitement of Black Friday doorbusters at national retailers is giving way to a calmer holiday weekend. What now? 

We at DOT have two recommendations: Small Business Saturday, and safe, patient travel on Sunday.

As holiday gift season settles in, Small Business Saturday is a way to celebrate and support the small businesses that anchor our local communities and strengthen our economy.

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For those who pay attention to travel, the next five days are the Super Bowl. Airlines and Amtrak have geared up for peak passenger loads. And families and friends are looking forward to holiday gatherings that bring them once again close to their loved ones.

For the men and women we work with here at DOT --in Washington, DC, and in offices and air traffic control facilities across the country-- Thanksgiving is another opportunity to think about your safety. Your safety in the skies, your safety on the rails.

And, in particular, your safety over the road. Because this year, AAA projects that of the 43.4 million Americans who are traveling more than 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving, nearly 39 million of them will head out for their Thanksgiving destinations by car.

Photo of happy family preparing for a road trip
Keep your family smiling throughout your trip by driving safely.
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In preparation for another record Thanksgiving holiday week, Amtrak is running every available passenger rail car in its fleet, while adding additional service in the Northeast Corridor, the Chicago hub, the Pacific Northwest, and in California.

This is hardly a surprise.  As I wrote on this blog recently, Amtrak has set annual ridership records in 10 out of the last 11 years, fueled by a growing demand in more than 500 communities nationwide.  That includes Missouri, where Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner – operating on a 238-mile rail line serving eight cities between St. Louis and Kansas City – has set six consecutive annual ridership records. 

Photo of F.R.A. Administrator Joe Szabo at the rail bridge opening
FRA Administrator Joe Szabo; photo courtesy Cathy Morrison, Missouri Department of Transportation.

Yesterday, in Osage City, I joined Missouri DOT, Union Pacific, and Amtrak at a ribbon cutting for a new railroad bridge that will eliminate the rail line’s last chokepoint between Jefferson City and St. Louis. And in addition to benefiting four daily passenger trains, the new railroad bridge also reduces delays for 60 daily freight trains, which is great news for Missouri’s farmers, manufacturers, and businesses...

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Partnerships, investigations leading to worry-free moves

This year alone, more than 35 million Americans will move.  At the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), we're working to ensure that families and their household possessions are protected during every one of those moves. 

Too often, families on the move are preyed upon by unscrupulous carriers.  Too often, they are overcharged when shipping their possessions to a new home. Too often, their treasured memories are held hostage until a high ransom is paid.

That’s why, at FMCSA, we’re cracking down against deceitful companies...

Continue Reading FMCSA Protects Consumers ››
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America's 4th largest city invests in its bicyclists and pedestrians

What does it mean to be multi-modal? For Houston, it means economic opportunity and new construction now...and 7 miles of paths, 10 miles of on-street bikeways, 11 miles of sidewalks, and 6 miles of pedestrian enhancements in the future.

That's thanks to the city's "Regional Bike/Pedestrian Connections to Transit" project, which broke ground today.  I was in Houston for the event and had the pleasure of joining U.S. Representatives Gene Green and Sheila Jackson Lee, Mayor Annise Parker, and other local officials to celebrate this terrific step forward.

Photo of the groundbreaking event for Houston's bike-ped project

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If you're traveling through the Oakland International Airport this holiday season, you can be thankful for an innovative combination of improved safety and environmental protection. Thanks to the Recovery Act, I’m pleased to announce the dedication of a new, 236-foot-tall air traffic control tower at Oakland International.

President Obama is committed to investing in our aviation infrastructure in order to create good-paying jobs and keep our nation competitive in today’s global economy, and our new Oakland tower is a gleaming example of that. An American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant of $33.2 million from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) helped pay for construction of the tower, as well as a 14,000-square-foot base building.

Photo of Oakland Control Tower

The state-of-the-art tower at Oakland gives controllers dramatically better views of the airfields--enhancing safety--and it consolidates the controllers who had been using two separate towers for more than 40 years.

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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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