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Wreath-laying commemorates Battle for the Northern Mariana Islands and the Liberation of Guam

Yesterday, Acting Maritime Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen attended a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns commemorating the 69th anniversary of the Battle for the Northern Mariana Islands and honoring the sacrifices of Chamorros and the United States Armed Services--including the American Merchant Marine--during the July 1944 liberation of Guam.

On June 15, 1944, in the Northern Marianas, the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions and the 27th Army Infantry division fought bravely to establish a base from which to strike the Japanese homeland. In doing so, they secured a new future for the people of the Northern Marianas. On July 21, 1944, units of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force and the 77th Army Infantry Division landed and liberated the people of Guam, who had endured 32 months of enemy occupation.

Both campaigns were supported by U.S. merchant mariners, who delivered troops, food, guns, ammunition, and other supplies to Saipan, Tinian, and Guam.

Photo of wreath-laying ceremony with color guard

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The Conference Of Minority Transportation Officials has a simple goal: seeing the diverse faces of America equally reflected in all levels of the transportation industry. And since 1971, COMTO has worked hard to ensure a level playing field and greater participation for minority individuals and businesses in transportation.

The Department of Transportation shares a similar commitment to fair treatment and improved access to opportunity for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and workers. Yesterday, at COMTO's 42nd National Meeting and Training Conference, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff and Deputy Federal Rail Administrator Karen Hedlund reaffirmed that commitment.

As Administrator Rogoff said, "One of the best things we can do for the future of transportation is to make sure everyone has the ability to take advantage of opportunities in transportation today and in the future."

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Photo of U.S.S. Holland being towed from Suisun Bay by a Foss tugboat

USS Holland, a 1963 submarine tender, is the latest vessel in the Maritime Administration's ahead-of-schedule program to remove obsolete Reserve Fleet ships from California's Suisun Bay.

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Last week, I wrote here in the Fast Lane that we at DOT must work harder than ever before to give the American people what they need when it comes to transportation. And the most important thing the American people are counting on us to deliver is safety.

For generations, Americans have ridden on planes, trains, buses, cars, boats, and bikes—not having to think about whether their chosen mode of transportation is safe or not. They trust that our system will work, and work safely.

The good news is that, over the last four and half years, DOT has already been doing this.

Photo of Secretary Foxx speaking with U.S. and D.O.T. flags

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Yesterday, I had the distinct honor of hosting Vice President Joe Biden at our DOT headquarters for my ceremonial swearing-in as Secretary of the Department of Transportation. I can't thank him enough for officiating and for his generous remarks.

Photo of Vice President Biden swearing-in Secretary Anthony Foxx with his wife Samara and two children, Hillary and Zachary, standing alongside

I also want to thank my pastor, the Reverend Dr. Clifford A. Jones, Sr., for making the trip from Charlotte, NC, to Washington, DC, to deliver yesterday's invocation. And I want to thank the many friends, family, and colleagues who joined me, my wife Samara, and my kids Hillary and Zachary for this celebration.

One special person who made the trip up from Charlotte is my 96-year-old grandmother, Mary Kelly Foxx. Now, she grew up in the little town of Carthage, NC, in the early years of the 20th century, one of Peter and Ida Kelly's 13 children. Pete, my great-grandfather, had something to help him support that family--he had a truck. And he used it not only to raise those 13 kids, but put every single one of them through college.

So, when I talk about transportation as a lifeline, I'm speaking from personal experience in addition to the difference I saw it make as Mayor of Charlotte.

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In cities and towns across the country, rail investments lead to more jobs, increased private sector buy-in, and better infrastructure for everyone. It’s a true win-win-win situation. And to fully realize the potential for rail in America, we must continue investing federal resources and leveraging them with our public and private sector partners.

That's the essence of what I said at a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on Innovative Rail Financing earlier this week. Funding the passenger rail investments America needs is an important challenge; fortunately DOT has a lot to build on.

Photo of new Amtrak Cities Sprinter locomotive built by Siemens in the U.S.

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Registration to speak on crash database upgrade project closes today

The National Automotive Sampling System is composed of two data systems using cases selected from a sample of police crash reports. NHTSA is currently undertaking a modernization effort to upgrade the NASS.

NHTSA has reached the next phase of the design  and will hold a public listening session July 18 to solicit information and comments on its Data Modernization project (DataMod).Pre-registration is required for in-person and webinar participation. Register here by July 11.

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Recent crashes in San Francisco and Alaska have put aviation safety front and center in the minds of many Americans this week.  Safety is my overriding priority as FAA Administrator, and while we await findings from the investigations in both recent crashes, I am pleased to announce a new rule that will help us maintain our safety record. Despite recent events, we are setting records in aviation safety.  American air travelers expect only the most qualified pilots in the cockpit, and thanks to today's Pilot Qualification Rule, that’s exactly what they’ll get.

The final rule increases the qualification requirements for first officers – commonly called co-pilots -- who fly for U.S. airlines. The rule now mandates that co-pilots hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, requiring them to log 1,500 hours of flying time before becoming a copilot. Previously, they needed only a commercial pilot certificate, which requires 250 hours of flight time. The rule also requires co-pilots to have an aircraft type rating, which involves additional training and testing specific to the airplanes they fly.

Photo of FAA Administrator Michael Huerta shaking hands with John Duncan, Deputy Director of Flight Standards, as Barbara Adams with Flight Standards, looks on after Administrator Huerta signed the Pilot Qualification Rule

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With many families venturing out on the road for summer travel, it's the perfect time to learn more about one of the most important features for avoiding a crash – your tires.

Click on the image to read more of NHTSA's Safety 1N NUM3ERS fact sheet on tires.

Click on this image to link to NHTSA's Safety In Numbers fact sheet on tires

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On July 9, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Urban Mass Transit Act, creating the Urban Mass Transit Administration, which was later renamed the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). 

In signing the Act, President Johnson said, "This is by any standard one of the most profoundly significant domestic measures to be enacted by the Congress during the 1960's."

Photo of a transit bus in 1964 and a 2012 light rail train

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