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For five and half years, one of the best parts of my job has been meeting with mayors and people at the local level working hard to get things done.  To leaders like the National League of Cities members I met with this week, transportation comes down to improving quality of life.

I used to be a mayor myself. I served in Riverdale, Illinois, the first outer-ring suburb on the southern edge of Chicago.

Riverdale is a railroad town.  It has two major rail yards, five railroads that run through it, and two commuter rail stations.  So I understand how community leaders are eager to have safe, reliable, efficient rail connections but also the necessary tools to address challenges like blocked crossings or train horn noise.  Above all, they want to know that their communities are safe –and so do we...

Photo of rail yard

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Almost exactly a year ago, Transportation Secretary Foxx addressed the National League of Cities. He then turned to the Fast Lane to blog about what it means to city leaders that drivers in their cities spend an average of 42 hours a year stuck in traffic and how an increasing population is only going to make matters worse unless we invest in infrastructure solutions.

For today's installment of Throwback Thursday, we re-publish the Secretary's blog post and remind readers that, for more than a year, he and President Obama have proposed concrete solutions --through GROW AMERICA, our four-year, $302 bllion legislative proposal-- and advocated tirelessly for revitalized American transportation and the jobs and economic growth that reviatlization would bring.

With a newly elected Congress heading toward Washington, we also re-publish in this post the Secretary's advice that, "It is only when we work together that we can go from gridlock to open road, open harbors, and open skies."

date widgetWorking together, investing in American transportation

Yesterday, I addressed the members of the National League of Cities, and it was a pleasure to be among leaders who understand the value of investing in America's transportation. Because League members know that, last year, drivers in this country's cities spent an average of 42 hours stuck in traffic. That's more than a full-time week of work.

Photo of a congested suburban road

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Although DOT has been protecting people on roads and in our skies for decades, until recently the Federal Transit Administration had no safety authority when it came to the nation’s subways, buses, and other forms of public transit. In 2012, after years of FTA advocacy, Congress finally authorized an oversight role, and since then we've been working hard to establish that authority and develop a framework that will allow us to better protect the nation's transit riders and its employees.

It's a complicated process, but we in the FTA Office of Transit Safety and Oversight (TSO) take our commitment to developing an effective safety program for the transit industry extremely seriously. Because a federal safety role in transit is new, we're are also committed to keeping our stakeholders informed every step of the way.

That's why, last week, we sent a letter to transit agencies across America. The letter provides an overview of the safety-related initiatives we're working on and expect to announce in the months ahead—and how these may affect transit agencies --and the tens of millions of Americans who ride transit each and every day...

Photo of MBTA green light

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For more than three years, the FAA has been collaborating with stakeholders to update the complex airspace and air traffic control procedures in North Texas. The new air traffic management initiative will help improve on-time performance for airlines —and their passengers— flying in and out of the region.

These improvements are part of the FAA’s NextGen program, one of the largest public-works projects in our lifetime. NextGen transforms our radar-based air traffic control system to a more efficient satellite-based system. The accuracy of satellite navigation allows us to completely redesign the airspace around major metropolitan areas with multiple airports (what we call metroplexes), saving time and fuel while reducing carbon emissions...

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In September, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made it very clear--through an address to the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference in Pittsburgh and in a blog post here in the Fast Lane-- that, when we talk about keeping the traveling public safe, "We must include pedestrians and bicyclists." Since then, DOT has backed up the Secretary's words with our "Safer People, Safer Streets" effort and with the launch of safety assessments in communities across the nation.

Recently, AARP asked Secretary Foxx a handful of questions about DOT's safety efforts and the difference they will make for older Americans. The Secretary's responses can be found at www.aarp.org/livable-communities/ and we hope you'll take the time to read through them.

None of DOT's goals can be achieved without partners, and we are pleased to have AARP's support on safety, our number one priority...

Secretary Foxx at Pro Walk Pro Bike conference in September 2014

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November marks Native American Heritage Month. DOT takes special pride in working hand-in-hand with Tribal governments and Native peoples across this country. We make sure that they have the skills and the resources they need to build better transportation systems –and better lives too.

Several of our operating administrations have been at the forefront of this effort.

Year round, but especially during Native American Heritage Month, DOT embraces this culture while continuing to look for opportunities to further collaboration and strengthen our partnerships with Tribal Governments and Native Peoples across this country...

Photo of road work on Federal Lands

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In Jacksonville, Florida –one of our cities hardest hit by the recession– the jobs are beginning to come back, and so are the people to fill them. From 2012 to 2013, the metro area’s population grew at a rate that was nearly twice the national average.

Now, while this is good news, it also presents a challenge: How do you move an increasingly larger population around a city with a limited number of streets?

Today in Jacksonville, drivers are experiencing more and more traffic congestion. The more than 40,000 people who ride the region's buses are experiencing their share of delays, too.  And for some transit-dependent folks, good connections to the jobs downtown just aren’t available.

Even in the best of times, solving a challenge like this is difficult. But as things stand now in the world of transportation funding, it's even harder...

Photo of First Coast Flyer prototype vehicle

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With the holiday season just around the corner American families are making plans to travel—and those travel plans will often involve mom, dad, and the kids getting on the road. If you’ve got little ones in the car, it’s critical that they travel in a car seat.

So, before your holiday schedule gets too hectic, take the time to make sure your child is riding in the correct car seat…and that the seat is correctly installed...

Photo of Child Safety Seat Check crew
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Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and folks across the country--including millions of college students--are making travel plans to visit friends, family, and other loved ones. For thousands of Americans, that travel will involve a motorcoach carrier.

The development of a thriving low-cost, curbside bus industry has made motorcoach travel more convenient than ever. But price and convenience are not the only factors to consider when purchasing a bus ticket. As it is for all of us at DOT, we want you to make safety your number one priority when you travel.

That's why we want to remind you about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's quick and free mobile app to help you choose your carrier and board your bus with confidence: the SaferBus app.

Look Before You Book

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On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 214,000 jobs were created last month, dropping the unemployment rate to its lowest level in six years. The announcement marks the latest --and certainly not the last-- chapter in a recovery that has created or saved millions of jobs, many of them because of investments in transportation.

However, at DOT, we know it’s sometimes difficult to understand the real impact on real people of these abstract job numbers, to put faces and families to statistics. So, for today's episode of Throwback Thursday, we want to remind you of just one of those individuals whose job was likely saved because of a transportation investment. His name is Wayne Cupp, and this spring when Secretary Foxx met him on the road, he decided to tell Fast Lane readers Wayne’s story.


Date widgetMeet Wayne

I want to introduce you to some of the people I am meeting on our bus tour.  I’ve always believed transportation is more than steel, concrete, and asphalt; it’s ultimately about the people across America – those who work to build it and those who use it (all of us).
 
Yesterday, I met Wayne Cupp at the Siemens motor plant in Norwood, Ohio...

Photo of Secretary Foxx with Wayne Cupp
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