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The goods we transport are the lifeblood of our economy. So as our nation moves freight into and out of the country, we depend on the efficiency of our ports and port facilities to keep that freight –and our economy— moving.

One of the key pieces in the freight puzzle is the challenge of the first and last miles, the transfer of goods between the container ships that tie up in our ports and the network of fast-moving rail and highway arteries that web our nation.

Yesterday at the Port of Seattle, I saw firsthand how intermodal freight transfer is an essential function in our transportation network and how it can clog the flow of goods. I also saw a port making strategic investments to speed up that transfer and maintain its competitiveness in the decades ahead...

Photo of Port of Seattle's container port, Terminal 46 (T46)

Continue Reading Port of Seattle preparing ››
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Apparently, the first Friday in October is Manufacturing Day. I say "apparently" because here at DOT, we're thinking about America's manufacturers more often than that.

When we invest American dollars in transportation projects, those projects are made of manufactured items and vehicles. Track, ties, and locomotives for rail. Catenary and cars for streetcars. Buses and benches and shelters for public transit.

Then, there's the fact that these items and vehicles are built with component materials that are also manufactured --from innovative wheelsets to hybrid engines all the way down to the nuts and bolts that literally hold our transportation system together...

Infographic on manufacturing and the economy

Continue Reading It's obvious, but ››
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For years now, states, cities, and communities across the country have watched Portland, Oregon, emerge as a leader in urban transportation. From streetcars to light rail to bike lanes, Portland has been touted by more than one Secretary of Transportation for its forward thinking.

But today, other communities are joining the ranks of transportation innovators. Places like Omaha and Richmond are building bus rapid transit. Indianapolis is building bicycle and pedestrian paths, and like Portland, they’re seeing safety improve and businesses grow in the process.

Still I did see some evidence in Portland earlier this week that the Rose City is not giving up its innovation title without a fight...

Photo of Secretary Foxx touring the Tilamuk Crossing

Continue Reading Portland not alone on ››
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The more than 25,000 miles of navigable Great Lakes, rivers, and waterways that make up America’s Marine Highway System are --and will remain-- a key economic asset.  Our nation’s marine highway routes and the tugs and barges that ply those marine highways help alleviate landside congestion; accommodate future freight growth; and provide reliable, competitive alternatives for freight shippers.

However, smooth sailing is not always guaranteed. For example, winter weather can cause the waters off the coasts of New England states --part of M-95, a crucial marine highway running all the way from Maine to Florida-- to be too rough for tugs to safely push or pull cargo-loaded barges. That’s why DOT's Maritime Administration (MARAD) has supported the Maine Port Authority’s development of a next-level cargo vessel designed specifically to handle that unique marine environment...

Rendering of the new A.T.B. design from Maine Port Authority

Continue Reading Marine Highway Momentum ››
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America's cities face a number of transportation challenges, not the least of which is anticipated population growth over the next two decades and endangered federal investment in the transportation necessary to move those new residents and the goods they will need. For the last three days, however, a group of more than 300 innovative leaders gathered in Los Angeles to help chart a course toward meeting those challenges.

Now in its second year, CityLab --sponsored by The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies-- brings together mayors, urban experts, city planners, writers, technologists, economists, and designers from around the world in a constructive dialogue about creating scalable solutions for city leaders to share with their communities...

Photo of Secretary Foxx meeting construction workers on LA Downtown Regional Connector project

Continue Reading Transportation solutions on ››
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If you read my Fast Lane post from yesterday, then you know I was in Kansas City on Monday. And in addition to seeing the Prospect Avenue corridor on that trip, I also was able to visit the workers who are replacing the city's Manchester Bridge.

This bridge serves 90,000 vehicles a day; it feeds tons of freight into the Blue Valley Industrial District. But the current structure has deteriorated to the point where it has required repair after repair in recent years just to keep stay open.

Now, thanks to recent investment, the bridge will soon be able to move people and goods safely and reliably for generations to come. So, yes, we’re proud of that, but –to be honest– we’re also concerned...

Photo of Secretary Foxx with KC construction workers

Continue Reading Also in Kansas City, ››
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The Prospect Avenue corridor in Kansas City, Missouri, has been struggling a bit from underinvestment in recent years, but --with some help from DOT-- that is changing.

A lot of people living along this corridor rely on the bus to get to work, to school, to medical appointments.  The Route 71 bus –which is just one of three routes on Prospect Corridor– carries 6,000 riders a day. But right now for some people, especially people with disabilities, taking the bus isn’t always an option because the infrastructure at and around the bus stops isn’t doing the job it’s supposed to...

Photo of Secretary Foxx looking at gaping hole in kansas city sidewalk
Continue Reading Transportation improvements ››
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Our nation marks Hispanic Heritage Month every year from September 15 to October 15, and DOT is proud of the innovative ways we observe the event.  This month's theme, "Hispanics:  A Legacy of History, a Present of Action, and a Future of Success," reminds us of the Hispanic leadership in our country and the pipeline of talent that lies ahead.

And we’re not just reminding people about that pipeline; we're helping build it...

Poster for National Hispanic Heritage Month

Continue Reading DOT working to create ››
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It takes organizations like COMTO, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, to ensure that minority transportation workers aren’t unfairly denied higher-paying jobs or promotions, and that minority-owned, small, and disadvantaged businesses (DBEs) get a fair shot at contracting opportunities.

At DOT, we support that effort, too –not just making sure we rebuild America’s infrastructure, but making sure that all Americans can participate in building it. And last week, we raised the stakes with a new rule designed to improve our DBE program regulations...

Photo of construction work on the I-70 Stan Musial Bridge

Continue Reading New rule opens the door to ››
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Carrying 95 percent of U.S. foreign trade, our maritime transportation system, which includes America’s ports, is a crucial component of our nation’s economy. And with our growing population --and the associated need to increase the amount of freight our transportation network carries-- maritime’s value will only grow in the future.

This point is not lost on the Obama Administration, and it’s the reason why Vice President Joe Biden joined U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-3), Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim, Virginia Port Authority CEO/Executive Director John Reinhart, and me at the Port of Virginia in Norfolk on Wednesday. We were there to highlight the Port’s role as an economic engine for the region and its continued development of facilities and services in anticipation of the need to move greater freight volumes...

Photo of VP Biden in Norfolk

Continue Reading Vice President Biden ››
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