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Cross-posted from the White House Blog

The United States was once known as a leader in infrastructure, and we're slipping: 

When the American Society of Civil Engineers graded our infrastructure systems last fall, they gave our road and transit systems a D, our bridges a C+, and our levees a D-.

But here's the real problem: The funding we have in place to fix them is set to run out by fall. That puts at risk more than 112,000 active projects that are currently paving our roads and building our bridges, as well as approximately 5,600 projects that are actively improving our transit systems — not to mention the nearly 700,000 jobs that these collective projects support...

Watch Transportation Secretary Foxx discussing DOT's infrastructure proposal at the White House Press Briefing on May 12, 2014

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Last Monday, I spoke to a large group – many of them high school and college students of color – gathered at DOT Headquarters for a day of “Mentorship, Careers, and Empowerment: Ladders of Opportunity for Young Men of Color.” The event was held by our Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (we call it OSDBU, for short), and the students were here to be matched with mentors and to learn about new careers or--perhaps--even land an internship.

Photo of D.O.T.'s James Cole mentoring students
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This morning, Secretary Foxx blogged about the opening of Denver's revitalized Union Station, a model for the nation of multimodal mobility and of innovative financing. It's hard to think of a better project to kick-off a week that features two key celebrations: National Transportation Week and Infrastructure Week.

N.T.W. logoOn May 16, 1957, Congress approved the third Friday of May each year as National Defense Transportation Day. And in 1962, Congress updated the request to include the whole week as National Transportation Week to provide an opportunity to celebrate the community of transportation professionals who keep our country moving.

Infrastructure Week 2014 is led by a diverse partnership of organizations including the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, Building America’s Future, 1776, the Organization for International Investment, the Value of Water Coalition, and the National Association of Manufacturers.

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Last week, the Denver Post ran an op-ed about the city's Union Station, observing that the past has become the future.

I think that accurately captures the revitalized historic station. Because more than 130 years ago, Denver's Union Station established itself as the heart of that city.  And with last Friday's ribbon-cutting ceremony, it reclaimed that spot. Because Union Station, with a new bus facility and rail connections, will significantly improve transportation options in downtown Denver and beyond.

It is once again Denver’s transportation hub, and the gateway to one of America's fastest-growing cities.

Close-up photo of Denver's Unon Station
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Cross-posted from Random Samplings, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau

As cities take steps to increase transportation options, many people choose to ride a bike to work or walk. Timed with National Bike to Work Month, the Census Bureau has released its first-ever report on biking and walking to work. If you have ever wondered who chooses this form of commuting, this report highlights annual American Community Survey information on biking and walking but also offers new information about these travel modes for specific populations.

Although changes in rates of bicycle commuting vary across U.S. communities, many cities have experienced relatively large increases in bicycle commuting in recent years. The total number of bike commuters in the U.S. increased from about 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000 during the period from 2008 to 2012, a larger percentage increase than that of any other commuting mode...

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Yesterday, in a post about energy transportation safety, I wrote that in the near future, we're going to have to move more energy. Well, the reality is that we’re going to have to move more everything --more people and more goods. In fact, by 2050, we’ll have to move almost twice the amount of freight we currently do.

And whether we are ready to do that safely and efficiently is more of an open question now than it ever has been, mostly because we have struggled to maintain transportation funding levels in recent years.

Earlier this week, I sent a letter to all the state departments of transportation. It warned them that, if action isn’t taken, the Highway Trust Fund could become insolvent as soon as August. And if that happens, it will be nearly impossible for communities to keep their infrastructure in good shape.

Photo of functionally obsolete bridge

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First-grader Annie Yu and third grader Heather Li live more than 1,000 miles apart, but both young students had the same message for commercial drivers recently: "Be Ready. Be Buckled."

And that's the message all of our 12 winning Art Contest entries will share on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's "Be Ready. Be Buckled." 2015 Calendar. Co-sponsored by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership, the annual contest and calendar are two of the ways we try to get more commercial drivers to buckle up --every trip, every time...

Photo of Secretary Foxx with Annie Yu
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Safety was on my mind when, yesterday, I went up to Capitol Hill to speak before the Senate Commerce Committee. My testimony came one week to the very hour after a train carrying crude oil derailed near downtown Lynchburg, Virginia. The crash sent oil spilling into the James River, and ignited flames on the banks of that river, causing the evacuation of a 20-block area.

As I told committee members, we’re very fortunate no one was killed, let alone hurt.

I also told them about two steps we took earlier yesterday to make transporting oil by rail safer: a Safety Advisory, strongly urging those shipping or offering Bakken crude oil to use tank car designs with the highest level of integrity available in their fleets, and an Emergency Order requiring shippers and energy companies to identify the routes Bakken crude oil is traveling and to notify state emergency responders so they can work with communities along those routes to prepare local police and fire departments...

File photo of Anthony Foxx

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This morning, thousands of students and parents across the country strapped on their helmets and backpacks and rode their bikes to school. Many of them do this every day, but for many of them it was a special ride in celebration of the third annual National Bike to School Day.

Bike to School Day – coordinated by the National Center for Safe Routes to School – is an opportunity for schools, communities, bike advocates, health organizations, and parents to introduce kids to the benefits of bicycling safely to school. And it was great to join National Center Director Lauren Marchetti at Lincoln Park here in Washington, DC, for the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Association's festivities.

Victor Mendez (right) holds bike-to-school day banner

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Yesterday, I joined the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, the Southwest Movers Association, the American Moving and Storage Association and the Better Business Bureau to kick off National Moving Month in Austin.

In 2014, more than 35 million Americans will move, and the month of May marks the start of the prime moving season. This is the time when many families and individuals think about what moving company to hire, and our job is to ensure that it will be a productive and safe one. With our focus on safety and consumer protection, we are working to enforce rules and educate consumers on how to protect themselves against moving fraud. Last year, FMCSA received more than 3,100 consumer complaints – many of these were against “rogue” movers who take advantage of consumers.

Photo of Anne Ferro at Protect Your Move kick-off

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