Today it was great to be back in Portsmouth to celebrate the opening of the new Memorial Bridge, a vital connector for the people of both New Hampshire and Maine. I was here 18 months ago, on a cold February day, to see some of the demolition work on the old bridge, and it’s fair to say we wouldn’t have been there today without a tremendous team effort by the leadership, congressional delegations and transportation officials of both states.
That teamwork was especially helpful in securing a $20 million TIGER grant that helped move this project forward. The bridge is a perfect example of what transportation is all about. It links cities and states. It joins communities and families. It supports jobs and businesses.
Yesterday, I made my first official visit to Ohio, thanks to an invitation from Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman. It was great to see firsthand the terrific work being done by the Ohio DOT on the Columbus Crossroads Project, the first major overhaul of this critical highway intersection in more than 50 years.
As Mayor Coleman knows, transportation is about more than the roads we pave. It's about quality of life, and the Columbus Crossroads Project makes that abundantly clear.
In the photo above, workers prepare the U.S.S. Kansas City for its July 31 departure from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet to Mare Island Shipyard in Vallejo, California. There, the vessel--the third of the Navy's Wichita-class replenishment oilers--will be cleaned of invasive species and exfoliated prior to being recycled in Brownsville, Texas. Below, the Kansas City heads toward Mare Island.
2012 brought us the warmest year on record for the continental United States. It also brought us more than $100 billion in damages from climate and weather disasters, including $65 billion from Hurricane Sandy alone. The images from Sandy--boats strewn across New Jersey rail lines, flooded PATH tunnels, and underwater MTA stations--offer a clear demonstration of the climate challenges transit agencies face.
The Federal Transit Administration has been working hard to help America's transit agencies protect themselves against the negative effects of climate change.
This morning, the Today Show aired a story educating consumers about rogue household movers. Investigative reporter Jeff Rossen follows one couple's move to Colorado that was made much more complicated and stressful by the household goods company they chose. The segment features an interview with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro and—spoiler alert!—a happy ending.
FMCSA encourages everyone considering a move to visit www.protectyourmove.gov. There, you'll find tips on how to spot the red flags of moving fraud and a "Before Your Move" checklist to help you protect your memories and your money!
From the first day I became Administrator, it was clear that the real strength of the Federal Highway Administration is its people. We serve the American public effectively because of our team of talented and dedicated employees.
Those words certainly fit three of the folks in our Pennsylvania Division. Between them, they have combined for an incredible 147 years of federal service, most of it with FHWA. In fact, two of them began their careers with the Bureau of Public Roads...before FHWA even existed.
Last weekend in Wisconsin, the National Governors Association held its annual Summer Meeting. There, governors met to discuss the critical issues facing states and to share their experiences and best practices for addressing those issues. I was honored to participate in a joint session of the NGA's Economic Development & Commerce and Natural Resources committees, "Under Construction: Building a National Consensus on Infrastructure."
In kicking off the session, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard reminded participants that "Infrastructure is a backbone to our nation and our states, sustaining quality of life and promoting the flow of commerce. As governors, we understand the connections between roads and bridges, locks and dams, and the communities they serve."
"Infrastructure connects us," Governor Daugaard said, "and its planning, construction, operation, and maintenance requires a national commitment."
As the former mayor of one our nation’s fastest-growing cities, I know from firsthand experience that small businesses are the heart of our local economies. Small businesses create new jobs and they invest the money they make back into the communities they serve.
At the same time, we know that transportation is one of our greatest avenues for growth and competitiveness.
And when we can bring the two together--small businesses and transportation projects--that's a powerful one-two combination for jobs and economic vitality.
Harnassing the power of two engines for growth--small businesses and transportation.
New web resources, grants seek to fight disturbing safety trend
Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian. Unfortunately, in 2011, pedestrians in the U.S. were one of the very few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities.
So as part of the campaign to combat that increase, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is making available $2 million in pedestrian safety grants. NHTSA has also joined with the Federal Highway Administration to launch a one-stop shop of safety tips and resources at www.nhtsa.gov/everyoneisapedestrian.
Our Federal Railroad Administration has helped reduce train accidents by 43 percent over the last decade; their work helped make 2012 the safest year in American rail history. But when safety is your number one priority, there's no resting. Last Friday, the FRA took another step forward in rail safety, issuing an Emergency Order and Safety Advisory to help prevent unattended trains carrying hazardous materials from moving unintentionally.
Friday's announcement was made in response to the tragic July 6 derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. While the full investigation has not yet to concluded, we can't afford to wait to take steps that would help prevent a similar incident from occurring here in the U.S. The American people deserve no less.