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Over the past few days, I've toured some of the projects selected to receive TIGER grants this year, and that includes the TRI-Mississippi Three-County Road Improvements Program. Now, Claiborne, Franklin, and Jefferson are among those counties with the fewest transportation options in America. To get anywhere in these rural counties –to run errands, to go to school, to commute to area employers like Grand Gulf Nuclear– you have to drive. There’s no other option.

Which would be fine. Except, the counties’ roads are crumbling; they flood easily; and their bridges are greatly in need of repair.  In fact, 60 area bridges are rated “deficient.”

Photo of bridge in Franklin County

That’s why, this year, all of us at DOT were so pleased that Claiborne, Franklin, and Jefferson counties developed TRI-Mississippi to fix this problem...

Continue Reading TIGER ready to connect ››
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Today, I’m pleased to announce the sixth round of DOT’s TIGER program. We’re making nearly $600 million in grants and awarding them to 72 transportation projects across 46 states and in DC.

Over the last six years, we’ve awarded more than $4 billion in these TIGER grants, but this round of investment is probably the most crucial ever...

Map of U.S. showing locations of TIGER projects

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Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Great Lakes region to help celebrate two new public transportation projects helping people in two states get where they’re going faster and with greater convenience than ever before.

Without federal participation, many projects like the Grand Rapids Silver Line and the Cleveland Cedar-University Rapid Station simply wouldn't get built. That's why the GROW AMERICA proposal Secretary Foxx sent to Congress last spring includes four years of support for transit projects in communities across the nation...

Photo of Grand Rapids Silver Line B.R.T. vehicle and station

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Regular readers of the Fast Lane blog have probably heard me say that rail travel has never been safer.  Accidents caused by faulty track, signal systems or equipment, and human error have decreased nearly 50 percent over the last decade to new record lows.  Employee fatalities are down 59 percent over the same period.  But one vexing exception to this continuous improvement exists: highway-rail grade crossing and pedestrian trespassing accidents, which together account for approximately 95% of all rail-related fatalities.

The safest crossing is one that doesn’t exist. And recently, I visited two places where our investments are funding capital improvements to eliminate crossings, make communities safer and improve their quality of life.

Last week in North Carolina I saw two of the 26 projects – all supported by our High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program – that are improving safety and service between Charlotte and Raleigh.  Between Lexington and Thomasville, North Carolina, workers are building two new highway bridges that will lift vehicle traffic above the tracks and enable three crossings to close.  In Harrisburg, two more crossings, as you can see below, will close thanks to a new 150-foot roadway bridge.


Photo Courtesy of John D. Simmons – Charlotte Observer

Continue Reading Predictable, Dedicated ››
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Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of industry professionals at the Finished Vehicle Logistics Conference, where the theme of the discussion was the import and export of new cars.

I’m sure you’re wondering what vehicle logistics has to do with the Maritime Administration. And that’s a very good question. 

My role at this conference highlighted the critical —yet often overlooked— fact that maritime moves America.

Continue Reading As exports rise, Maritime ››
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Yesterday, a new light rail station opened at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, making it easier for residents, commuters, and visitors to move between the airport and downtown. That’ll make North Texas more attractive and more competitive as an international destination for businesses and tourists and help the area build on the success of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) light rail. 

Earlier this year, the University of North Texas released a study that only confirms what many local have seen for themselves: in the last decade alone, the $4.7 billion that local, state, and federal partners have invested in expanding DART Rail has returned $7.4 billion in economic activity, created tens of thousands of local jobs, and supported over $3 billion in salaries, wages, and benefits.

Continue Reading Dallas’ New Airport Station ››
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Last week, I flew North – way North – to Alaska and visited everywhere from Anchorage to the small fishing village of Unalakleet to Nome, where the Iditarod dogsled race finishes each year.

Everywhere I went, I witnessed the natural beauty of Alaska’s terrain, but I also saw how difficult traversing that terrain can be.

All states have unique transportation needs, of course. But because of its size, its geography, and its climate, Alaska’s needs are more unique than most. And that’s what I went to discuss: How the federal government can help Alaskans meet their local needs. 

Continue Reading In the “Last Frontier,” ››
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Over the past week I've had the pleasure to be joined by Congressional leaders from two different states for tours of two very different --but equally impressive-- rail sites. The Amtrak maintenance site in New Jersey and the B&P Tunnel in Maryland are good demonstrations that America's railways need predictable, dedicated funding.

Continue Reading For a strong future, rail ››
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Innovation was the hallmark of former Federal Highway Administrator --now Deputy U.S. Transportation Secretary-- Victor Mendez's tenure here at FHWA. And it's no secret that Transportation Secretary Foxx has made it a top priority across DOT as well. Getting safer, more durable projects from idea to reality faster and at less cost just makes sense all around, and it's a key part of GROW AMERICA, the legislative proposal Secretary Foxx sent to Congress last spring.

In July, I saw firsthand the benefits of Pennsylvania's focus on highway innovation when I traveled to the Keystone State to see how state transportation officials are building a culture of innovation into their work. I left from my visit impressed at what the State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) has achieved...

Photo of road construction in Lackawanna County

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Monday, I met Brian Orellana, a young man who lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, and dreams of becoming an electrician. He may just get the break he needs thanks to an innovative workforce development program that’s tied to the construction of Boston’s Green Line Extension – a new transit line that will serve his neighborhood.

In fact, the cities of Somerville, Medford, and Cambridge have all joined the MassWIN partnership, along with Boston’s transit agency, the Massachusetts DOT, and local businesses and community colleges. They’ve recognized that opportunity begins, not on the day the new rail service will open, but with the construction itself...

Photo of Therese McMillan with Brian Orellana

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