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During my public swearing-in at DOT headquarters last week, I said that this Administration has an important mission: to build a stronger America, to create jobs, and to prepare the next generation to succeed in a global economy. For DOT that means working to improve the efficiency and performance of our existing transportation system. But, it means doing so in an era when we must work harder than ever to stretch our transportation dollar.

That's no small challenge. The American people are counting on us to be good stewards of their tax dollars even as we also build and maintain the roads, bridges, ports, buses, rails, and runways they need.

The good news? This Department has been getting better and better at improving the way we deliver the benefits of transportation to the American people.

Photo of Secretary Foxx speaking at his public swearing in with his family and Vice President Biden watching

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At a time when millions of Americans are traveling or thinking about summer travel on our roadways, there is no time like the present to stay focused on driving safety. A moment's distraction behind the wheel can be all it takes to turn your summer vacation into a tragic crash.

Fortunately, DOT has terrific safety partners to help get the word out that distracted driving threatens the safety of everyone on the road. AAA and the Automobile Club of Southern California have teamed up with DreamWorks Animation for a special public service announcement aimed at reducing distracted driving. 

The PSA features AAA IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves and Turbo, a character from the new 3D racing comedy, Turbo. Together, these two "drivers" do a great job sharing a great message!

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FMCSA investigation leads to shut-downs, civil penalties for safety and commercial violations

This year alone, more than 35 million Americans will move. It can be an exciting time; it can also be a stressful time--the items so familiar to your everyday life are closed into boxes, packed onto a truck, and shipped to a promising but unfamiliar new location.

To help ease your mind, protect your money, and preserve your memories, we want to ensure that everyone who moves is treated fairly by their moving company.

Too often, we hear from people who were tricked by moving companies who disappeared with their goods or held their goods hostage for more money. That's why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is working so hard to protect consumers from unscrupulous carriers. And today, we announced that we are revoking or suspending the interstate operating authority of three Chicago-area household goods moving companies because of serious violations of safety and commercial regulations.

Photo of 2 men loading a couch onto a moving truck

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Earlier this month, in a post about the opening of the Mission Transit Center, we included a video from the Kansas City area's Mid-America Regional Council. Today, we've got the latest video in MARC’s TIGER series, a May 2013 progress report highlighting the transportation improvements TIGER is bringing to Kansas City.

Thanks to MARC for keeping the region's residents--and all of us--updated on the TIGER front!

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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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