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Yesterday, I had the distinct honor of hosting Vice President Joe Biden at our DOT headquarters for my ceremonial swearing-in as Secretary of the Department of Transportation. I can't thank him enough for officiating and for his generous remarks.

Photo of Vice President Biden swearing-in Secretary Anthony Foxx with his wife Samara and two children, Hillary and Zachary, standing alongside

I also want to thank my pastor, the Reverend Dr. Clifford A. Jones, Sr., for making the trip from Charlotte, NC, to Washington, DC, to deliver yesterday's invocation. And I want to thank the many friends, family, and colleagues who joined me, my wife Samara, and my kids Hillary and Zachary for this celebration.

One special person who made the trip up from Charlotte is my 96-year-old grandmother, Mary Kelly Foxx. Now, she grew up in the little town of Carthage, NC, in the early years of the 20th century, one of Peter and Ida Kelly's 13 children. Pete, my great-grandfather, had something to help him support that family--he had a truck. And he used it not only to raise those 13 kids, but put every single one of them through college.

So, when I talk about transportation as a lifeline, I'm speaking from personal experience in addition to the difference I saw it make as Mayor of Charlotte.

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In cities and towns across the country, rail investments lead to more jobs, increased private sector buy-in, and better infrastructure for everyone. It’s a true win-win-win situation. And to fully realize the potential for rail in America, we must continue investing federal resources and leveraging them with our public and private sector partners.

That's the essence of what I said at a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on Innovative Rail Financing earlier this week. Funding the passenger rail investments America needs is an important challenge; fortunately DOT has a lot to build on.

Photo of new Amtrak Cities Sprinter locomotive built by Siemens in the U.S.

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Registration to speak on crash database upgrade project closes today

The National Automotive Sampling System is composed of two data systems using cases selected from a sample of police crash reports. NHTSA is currently undertaking a modernization effort to upgrade the NASS.

NHTSA has reached the next phase of the design  and will hold a public listening session July 18 to solicit information and comments on its Data Modernization project (DataMod).Pre-registration is required for in-person and webinar participation. Register here by July 11.

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Recent crashes in San Francisco and Alaska have put aviation safety front and center in the minds of many Americans this week.  Safety is my overriding priority as FAA Administrator, and while we await findings from the investigations in both recent crashes, I am pleased to announce a new rule that will help us maintain our safety record. Despite recent events, we are setting records in aviation safety.  American air travelers expect only the most qualified pilots in the cockpit, and thanks to today's Pilot Qualification Rule, that’s exactly what they’ll get.

The final rule increases the qualification requirements for first officers – commonly called co-pilots -- who fly for U.S. airlines. The rule now mandates that co-pilots hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, requiring them to log 1,500 hours of flying time before becoming a copilot. Previously, they needed only a commercial pilot certificate, which requires 250 hours of flight time. The rule also requires co-pilots to have an aircraft type rating, which involves additional training and testing specific to the airplanes they fly.

Photo of FAA Administrator Michael Huerta shaking hands with John Duncan, Deputy Director of Flight Standards, as Barbara Adams with Flight Standards, looks on after Administrator Huerta signed the Pilot Qualification Rule

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With many families venturing out on the road for summer travel, it's the perfect time to learn more about one of the most important features for avoiding a crash – your tires.

Click on the image to read more of NHTSA's Safety 1N NUM3ERS fact sheet on tires.

Click on this image to link to NHTSA's Safety In Numbers fact sheet on tires

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On July 9, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Urban Mass Transit Act, creating the Urban Mass Transit Administration, which was later renamed the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). 

In signing the Act, President Johnson said, "This is by any standard one of the most profoundly significant domestic measures to be enacted by the Congress during the 1960's."

Photo of a transit bus in 1964 and a 2012 light rail train

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Plebe candidates begin their path to leadership, service

Last week, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy was proud to welcome the Class of 2017 to Kings Point, where 238 plebe candidates took their first steps toward a lifetime of leadership and service.

The new candidates make up one of the most diverse classes in Academy history, and I look forward to seeing the entire class learn, grow and serve their country.

Photo of plebe candidates in their first formation

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To get agricultural and manufacturing products to world markets, producers need to transport them in shipping containers that are standardized for trucks, trains, and ships. Unfortunately, businesses in Montana can't ship or receive containerized international cargo effectively because the state lacks an inland port capable of accepting and delivering intermodal unit trains.

That's where DOT's TIGER program comes in. This competitive grant program was designed to support transportation solutions that also generate economic growth. And today the program continued its track record of doing exactly that with a grant of $10 million for the Port of Northern Montana Multimodal Hub Center to expand the capacity of Montana’s producers.

“The Multimodal Hub Center will provide Montana with an inland port that will help increase trade and create economic opportunities for its residents and businesses,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Photo of a freight train near Shelby, Montana

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FHWA emergency relief funds enable first visitors to Statue Of Liberty since Sandy

I'm happy to write that--eight months after being shut down by Hurricane Sandy--the Statue of Liberty reopened to visitors on the 4th of July.

Last October, the superstorm destroyed Liberty Island's passenger docks, making it impossible to ferry visitors to the island. In February, our Federal Highway Administration provided funding to the National Park Service for repair of the roads, bridges, ferry docks and pedestrian walkways damaged by the storm.

Photo of Deputy Secretary John Porcari observing ongoing construction work on Liberty Island

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On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Federal Aviation Administrator Michael P. Huerta released the following joint statement in response to the crash of Asiana Flight 214:

"The Department of Transportation and the FAA are working closely to assist the NTSB with its investigation. Our thanks go to today's first responders and our thoughts and prayers go out to the passengers and crew of Asiana Flight 214 and their families."

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