In January, the average low temperature in Rochester, NY, is 18 degrees; in December, it's a balmy 26. Imagine yourself riding a Regional Transit Service bus into downtown Rochester early on a winter morning, then waiting on a windy sidewalk for the connecting bus that takes you to work. Maybe the wait is only 5 minutes, but maybe it's 15.
Now, imagine that instead of lining up on a frigid downtown street, you're waiting inside the new Downtown Transit Center. It’s warm. It’s well-lit. It’s safe. And there’s up-to-the-minute information about when your next bus arrives. Your day just got a lot better. And so did the day after that, and the day after that.
For the hard-working men and women of Rochester who rely on public transportation, that’s reason to celebrate...
When you have an Interstate Highway project that will enhance safety, relieve congestion and the extra emissions associated with traffic jams, improve access to jobs and create new ones, and improve local commuting routes for residents of nearby communities, something like that ought to be easy to get accomplished.
If you don't invest in boosting a community's economy and making life better for residents, then what do you invest in?
In each of our nation's ports, we have a gateway to global economic opportunity. We have access to the world's oceans, and we have workers ready to move freight efficiently from ship to trucks (or the trains) to the shelves.
But as the world's ships grow larger – and as our economy grows larger too – our ports will need to handle more cargo. By 2050, the United States will have to move nearly twice the amount of freight we currently transport.
That’s why I was at the Port of Newark yesterday. On the coasts of Jersey – so close to the trade hub of New York City that you can see the Empire State building through the marshes – work is underway to keep the region a commercial and shipping powerhouse. Just last month, DOT awarded a $15-million TIGER grant to the port. The money will go towards improvements that will help the port handle more cargo and trucks move in and our faster.
This is good news. But my message to Newark, however, was: This isn’t enough.
Public transportation is a $55 billion industry that employs thousands of Americans in jobs at all levels –from executives and managers, to planners and engineers, to bus drivers, electricians, and mechanics. As these workers retire, and as demand increases for more transportation services, job opportunities in transit are expected to grow rapidly—creating a range of opportunities for a new generation to join a dynamic profession that is so vital to the health of our economy and the future of our nation.
That’s why I am excited that the Federal Transit Administration is supporting a new online tool that connects job-seekers and students with employment opportunities in transit. The Transit Virtual Career Network (VCN) acts as one-stop shopping for those preparing for a career in transit, with a window onto nearly 60 different career choices...
That was my message to the hundreds of transit stakeholders gathered in Houston yesterday for the American Public Transit Association’s Triennial EXPO.
For years, particularly over the past year, many of us have watched our buses and subway platforms grow crowded –and our backlog for transit repairs grow larger. That backlog now stands at $86 billion, more than the federal government spends on all forms of transportation every year...
Secretary Foxx (right) with APTA Chair Phillip Washington (left) and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
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...
Apparently, the first Friday in October is Manufacturing Day. I say "apparently" because here at DOT, we're thinking about America's manufacturers a little 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 --and more rail stuff-- 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...
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...
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...
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...