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The work we do at DOT cannot be done without our partners. Whether we're investing in safety, seeking innovation, or solving regional transportation challenges, success often depends on exceptional groups and individuals doing the heavy lifting and setting the bar high for the rest of us. That's why the Obama Administration has been recognizing Champions of Change in different fields, including transportation.

Like previous winner Beverly Scott--who actually painted red X's on Atlanta buses to show what transit service cuts would mean to commuters--one person with one idea can make a world of difference.

White House Champions of Change logo

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Yesterday I had a chance to talk with members of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) about how President Obama’s four-year transportation plan will enhance rail safety and service, including commuter rail.

The President’s plan includes a blueprint for a $19 billion rail reauthorization that builds upon current rail policy and the $23 billion portfolio of investments we've made since 2009. For the first time, rail will have its own source of dedicated funding as part of a Rail Account within the Highway Trust Fund, finally placing rail on par with other forms of transportation...

Photo of Amtrak Cities Sprinter

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In 2013, transit ridership in the US exceeded 10.7 billion passenger trips. That's great news, but keeping up with that level of demand for public transportation is an enormous challenge.

Last week, President Obama proposed an aggressive budget for transportation that would increase FTA’s funding by more than 60%. It’s a big ask, but a necessary one to pave the way for the President’s other big initiative: a four-year, $302 billion reauthorization package that would bring us more predictable funding and help us tackle many of the challenges we face.

Taken together, these two policy priorities speak volumes about this Administration’s unflagging commitment to revitalize public transportation in this country, address our infrastructure deficit, and provide ladders of opportunity to millions of Americans who need more access to transit service.

Photo of FRA Administrator Szabo and Deputy FTA Administrator McMillan at the American Public Transportation Association legislative conference

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Photo of Secretary Foxx presenting RAISE Award to Kyle SmithI have said over and over again that although we must invest more in America's infrastructure, spending more money is not enough to restore our nation's transportation system to the level of safety and efficiency our economic vitality requires.  We also need some good, old-fashioned American inventiveness so we can use our resources more effectively.

The Secretary's RAISE Award, an aviation innovation challenge, asks the best and brightest minds from American high schools, colleges, and universities to help us manage our limited airspace more safely and efficiently, and this year's winning submission from USAF Lieutenant Kyle Smith promises to do exactly that.

In fact, the airborne collision avoidance system Lt. Smith proposed last year while he was a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is so promising, it's already being put through its paces at the Federal Aviation Administration's Hughes Technical Center.

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Thanks to a new report, we know that transit can plan an increasingly important role in connecting people to these opportunities.  Today, the American Public Transportation Association announced its latest data indicating that the number of transit passenger trips taken in 2013 was 10.7 billion, the highest in more than 50 years. It’s good news that will help meet our transportation needs today and into the future.

But as Secretary Foxx reminded APTA members this morning, the nation’s existing transit capacity and state of good repair are insufficient to meet growing demand.  That's why President Obama's 4-year transportation proposal includes a boost in transit investment funded by pro-growth business tax reform...

To watch the Secretary's remarks, click the image below.
Screen capture from C-Span video of Secretary Foxx at A.P.T.A.

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St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the rich history and culture of the Irish. Regrettably, it is also a day when many make the dangerous choice of driving after they’ve been drinking.

From 2008 to 2012, drunk driving claimed 268 lives on St. Patrick’s Day alone—an average of 54 deaths on each St. Patrick’s Day in the past five years.

Graphic advising against drinking and driving on St. Patrick's Day

Whether you’re planning an extended St. Patrick’s Day celebratory weekend, or just an outing with friends and family on Monday, plan ahead for a sober ride home.

And on Wednesday, March 12, at 3pm ET, we’ll be on Twitter -- @NHTSAgov – sharing stats, tips, and ways to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day without drinking and driving. To have the most impact in this fight to save lives, we need YOU to join us...

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With loads of snow still on the ground across the country, it might seem out of place to let people know that--for much of the nation--this weekend brings a return to Daylight Savings Time. But it's true; early Sunday morning--2:00 a.m.--on March 9, we spring forward by setting our clocks an hour ahead.

Generally, that means more sunlight later in the day. But it also means an hour less sleep that first night, and--at least for a short time--it means darker mornings. With safety as our first priority here at DOT, we want to remind you to stay particularly alert behind the wheel while your body adjusts to the time change.

Infographic on Drowsy Driving

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When is 2.5 a big number? When it's the $2.5 billion in President Obama's proposed 2015 transportation budget for the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Grant program (CIG).

Many long-time Fast Lane readers will recognize that the transit CIG program is an evolution of FTA's popular New Starts program, also known as New And Small Starts. It might be confusing to follow the changing program names, but one thing that is not confusing is the program's continued value to communities across the country...

Photo of MBTA Green Line

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Cities and towns across the country are taking steps to make biking an option for their residents, but we have a responsibility to make sure that it's a safe option, too. Because, even though NHTSA reports national total crash fatalities at record lows, bicyclist and pedestrian deaths have not followed suit.

We won’t stand still at DOT and allow this crisis to build up over time. As I told the enthusiastic bicycling advocates yesterday at the 2014 National Bike Summit, our roads should be safe; they should be easy places to travel, no matter how we’re traveling on them...

Photo of Secretary Foxx at 2014 National Bike Summit
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At the Department of Transportation, we’ve been talking for months –if not years– about America’s infrastructure deficit. If you've been reading this blog, then you’ve heard me talk about 100,000 bridges old enough for Medicare, billions of dollars in backlogged transit projects, and the growing costs of waiting as cities and states put their transportation plans on hold. And you've seen our highway trust fund ticker and know how close we are to running out of money altogether.  

But a week ago, that all changed. Because last Wednesday, President Obama laid out his vision for a four year, $302-billion-dollar transportation plan to modernize this country’s infrastructure and put us on the path to solving this problem...

Graphic from D.O.T.'s 2015 Budget Highlights document

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