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Even before the events of September 11 destroyed parts of New York City's downtown transit lines, navigating Lower Manhattan's many subway routes presented riders with something of a challenge. Now, more than a decade later, the new Fulton Center repairs the damage from 9/11, makes order out of the nine-line chaos, and sets a new standard for transit centers.

At the Federal Transit Administration, we’re proud of our nearly $3 billion investment to help make the Fulton Center a reality.

This state-of-the-art facility is a tremendous testament to New Yorkers’ commitment to keep their city –and the transit system that is its lifeblood— moving forward in the 21st century...

Photo of Fulton Center opening ceremony

Continue Reading Fulton Center transit ››
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This past weekend --with a grant agreement in Oakland on Saturday and a groundbreaking in Los Angeles a day earlier-- California's transit riders enjoyed an opportunity to see two stages in the life-cycle of public transportation projects. Acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan helped celebrate both occasions, an apt demonstration of how our FTA supports good transit options from planning to construction.

Photo of Purple Line extension groundbreaking

On Friday, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) broke ground on Section 1 of its Westside Purple Line extension, the first of three planned extensions for the subway line. The Section 1 extension is expected to improve capacity and travel times from Beverly Hills to downtown Los Angeles, North Hollywood, Union Station, and other communities. The extension will improve travel through one of the region's most congested areas and give more people access to jobs, schools, and other services. The project includes three new underground stations and the purchase of 34 new vehicles, stimulating an American supply chain that extends far beyond California. In addition, LACMTA estimates that construction will create more than 22,000 jobs.

A few hundred miles north, the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) is planning to add a dedicated bus line between Oakland and San Leandro. And on Saturday, Acting Administrator McMillan signed a grant agreement to help move the 9.5-mile East Bay Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project from plan to reality. The proposed BRT line will have a dedicated travel lane for buses, level boarding, pre-payment kiosks, and improved safety features. Most importantly, it will speed up travel times for an estimated 125,000 people each day...

Continue Reading Good weekend for California ››
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If you’re like most people, the global supply chain isn’t exactly must-see TV. You’ve heard about it, and you know it plays a role in your life, but it’s kind of abstract. So let’s talk about something you can feel: that smartphone in your pocket or purse.

It’s safe to say that most of us have smartphones, but we don’t often consider the logistics that go into their creation.

The phone I carry was designed in Canada and manufactured in China. It contains glass from the Dow Corning Plant in my home state of Kentucky, software written in South Carolina, a processor from South Korea, a semiconductor from Germany, flash memory from Japan, and rare earth elements from India, Brazil and South Africa.

Cruising across oceans in containerships and crossing countries and borders in trucks and trains, the world’s raw materials head to factories, and finished goods head to stores –and eventually into consumers’ hands. It is a complex system that makes this possible.

Photo of laden container ship

And America’s transportation infrastructure is our ticket into this system...

Continue Reading GROWing U.S. Contributions ››
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Public transportation can be a real lifeline. And nowhere is that more apparent than in America’s rural communities. Great distances between homes, workplaces, schools, and vital services --plus the aging of the U.S. population-- present rural residents and the transit agencies that serve them with significant challenges.

Since 1985, the Federal Transit Administration has recognized great work in rural transit by presenting Administrator’s Awards for Outstanding Public Transportation Service in Rural Public Transportation. Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting this year’s awards to five very deserving rural transit systems from across the country. By enhancing mobility and increasing access to employment, these unsung heroes of transportation have done an exceptional job of connecting rural residents to ladders of opportunity...

Photo of NCRTD bus

Continue Reading FTA Recognizes Five ››
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In both Normal, Illinois, and St. Paul, Minnesota, USDOT stimulus grants for multimodal transportation facilities are still creating good construction jobs and revitalizing urban neighborhoods. The success of these modest, one-time investments suggests that a more robust federal commitment to transportation—such as that envisioned in the GROW America Act—could be strengthening local economies everywhere.

That’s the takeaway from two recent studies by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan group based in Washington, DC, that promotes smart growth for working families. These studies are online at www.goodjobsfirst.org.

The studies detail the job-creation benefits of the new Uptown Station in Normal and the restoration of the St. Paul Union Depot. Both projects were financed in part by Transportation Infrastructure Generating Employment Recovery (TIGER) grants, a part of the federal stimulus that has since been continued and would be expanded under the GROW America Act...

Photo of construction work for Uptown Station
Continue Reading Stimulus Investments in ››
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Remember when the Highway Trust Fund was running out of money, and state departments of transportation warned they’d have to cancel projects? That was a dark hour for America. But some thought that when Congress passed a ten-month funding patch in August, the worst was over.

It wasn’t over. Not even close. 

The Tennessee DOT is delaying $400 million in road projects. It turns out, the patch Congress passed didn’t end the uncertainty over transportation funding; it perpetuated it. As TDOT Commissioner John Shroer wrote in a letter to state legislators last Friday, "The instability in the flow of these dollars is certainly having an impact in Tennessee."

At USDOT, we knew this would happen. We said this would happen.

And now we’re seeing the terrible – and very predictable – outcome. 

Letter from TDOT to Tennessee state legislators

Continue Reading Not hiring: A Tennessee ››
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Today in Throwback Thursday-land, we're dialing up a Fast Lane post from September 6, 2013.

Writing about a TIGER grant for Lee County, Florida, road and trail improvements to save the lives of pedestrians and bicyclists, Secretary Foxx says, "We want to be a partner with Lee County in improving the safety and vitality of the community."

That's exactly what the TIGER program--created by the Recovery Act that President Obama signed within less than a month of taking office--has allowed us to do.

And if Congress passes the Obama Administration's GROW AMERICA Act, we'll be able to continue supporting state and local efforts like those in Lee County. Efforts that boost safety, create jobs, and increase affordable transportation options for America's middle class.

Lee County TIGER Award an Investment in Safety

Thanks in part to DOT's TIGER program, Lee County, Florida, is on the brink of transformation...

Continue Reading Throwback Thursday: Lee ››
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When our transportation system is not as efficient as it needs to be, we don't just calculate the cost in congestion on our roadways. We must also measure it by our inability to get essential supplies to our armed forces overseas. The ability to move the food, equipment, and supplies our forces need to do their jobs and safely return home is a critical requirement for our nation’s transportation system.

When our transportation system is stronger, our military is stronger.

That's why the Department of Transportation works closely with the U.S. Transportation Command to ensure that America can meet its strategic deployment requirements and sustain our military. And yesterday, at the Fall Meeting of the National Defense Transportation Association and USTRANSCOM, it was clear that we must continue to do so...

Photo from wheelhouse of military vessel in busy port
Photo credit USTRANSCOM.
Continue Reading When our transportation is ››
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Eastern North Carolina struggles with persistent poverty.  The region was hit hard by the recession.

But what I saw during my visits with Congressman G.K. Butterfield to the towns of Kinston and Mount Olive really impressed me.  Eastern North Carolina is bouncing back.  And they’re doing it by rebuilding their economy around transportation.

Federal investments in passenger rail and transit are benefiting the region. In fact, in other cities like Los Angeles and Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh, passengers are riding trains that, in a sense, are powered by Mount Olive company, IMPulse...

Photo of Secretary Foxx at ImPulse
Photo courtesy U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield!
Continue Reading Eastern North Carolina ››
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If you're interested in transportation, one of the more exciting conferences that's come down the pike lately is this week's Transforming Access, Mobility, and Delivery in Cities forum in New York City. This meeting seeks to turn research on 21st century urban transportation into action that can make a practical difference for the people living in our cities.

I couldn't be happier to join a group of committed people who are putting their shoulders into the door of opportunity and holding it open just a little wider so more people can step through. Because 'access' means opportunity, and increasing accesss and connecting more people to more opportunity is exactly what we're trying to do at DOT...

Photo of Secretary Foxx at Transforming Access conference; courtesy Don Chen
Continue Reading Want 21st Century ››
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