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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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Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the dedication ceremony for the Englewood Flyover, a project funded largely by a $126 million High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program grant.

It’s a perfect example of the type of important projects that can be advanced with predictable, dedicated funding for rail...

Photo of passenger train passing over freight train via Englewood flyover

Continue Reading Englewood Flyover to reduce ››
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How often do blog readers go back and browse through the archives? Not very often, but some of those oldies (and not-so-oldies) still continue to resonate powerfully a year or more later.

So today, we introduce a new feature in the Fast Lane: Throwback Thursdays.

We're starting with a post from November 2013, celebrating the opening of the fourth bore of California's Caldecott Tunnel. We hope you'll see that investing in congestion-relieving, time-saving projects like this produces a wealth of benefits that continue to make lives easier and our economy more vibrant long after the ribbons are cut.

That's why Transportation Secretary Foxx has been criss-crossing America calling on Congress to support the Administration's GROW AMERICA Act, a long-term plan that will support millions of jobs, improve our transportation system, and strengthen our economic outlook.

With the opening Friday of a fourth tube in the Caldecott Tunnel, commuters in the Bay Area will turn the page on a new chapter in transportation.

Continue Reading Welcome to Throwback ››
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This fall, The Washington Post is hosting a new series of live events, America Answers, to discuss the challenges facing our nation. The first of these was held yesterday, and it was squarely in the DOT wheelhouse: "Fix My Commute."

With academics, private sector innovators, and mayors from Atlanta to Los Angeles, yesterday's focus was all about cities, states, and the federal government working toward solutions for curbing congestion, cutting the cost of commuting, improving traffic safety, and getting infrastructure projects done.

Our own Secretary Foxx is one "Fix My Commute" speaker who has been advocating persistently for a legislative solution--GROW AMERICA-- that will unleash innovation in communities across the country...

Photo of Secretary Foxx speaking at DOT

Continue Reading Vice President Biden: How ››
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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...

Web banner from Rochester Transit Center

Continue Reading New hub brings Rochester ››
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