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Although it doesn't always work out this way, this final day of 2014 is also the last day of the Saint Lawrence Seaway's busy navigation season. By the time the ball drops in New York City's Time Square, all vessels are expected to have finished transiting the Seaway's Montreal / Lake Ontario section as well as the Welland Canal that connects Lakes Erie and Ontario.

With the Seaway still open, the final shipping traffic and tonnage data are incomplete. But as of the end of November, total cargo was greater than 34,500,000 metric tonnes, which is nearly a five percent increase from the 2013 navigation season. That increase was led by grain shipping, which showed a 44 percent jump over 2013. That's great news for farmers and agricultural communities with access to the Great Lakes & Seaway System...

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The end of the year is the time when many people look back at the past 12 months and compile their “best of” lists for books, movies, and music. We at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have a list of our own.  

I am proud to say that our long list of accomplishments this year includes three game changers in particular that advance our safety-first mission by cutting the red tape and waste burdening American businesses, offering a helping hand to our soldiers preparing to transition into civilian careers in transportation, and working to improve health and wellness of bus and truck drivers...

Driver inspecting truck

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With over 95% of all U.S. foreign trade by volume moving across oceans onboard ever-increasing sized vessels, barge tows transporting millions of tons of coal and other bulk commodities on our inland waterways, and government-owned and commercial vessels carrying U.S. military equipment and supplies to and from overseas contingencies, our Nation’s reliance on marine transportation is stronger today than it has ever been.

As the agency within the DOT that develops and promotes American marine transportation and the U.S. Merchant Marine, the Maritime Administration—or “MARAD”—works diligently to ensure the dependability and security of this system along with its intermodal connections for the movement of people and freight. With 2014 coming to a close, I have been impressed with my team and proud to look back on what has been a highly productive year for MARAD.  Most importantly, we delivered results on a number of measures to accomplish our mission...

M/V Cape Rise in Port Arthur, Texas

Continue Reading A Momentous Year for MARAD ››
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Innovation and investment in infrastructure doesn’t take a holiday.  Throughout 2014, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has been relentless in working with state DOTs to save time, save money and save lives, by encouraging the use of innovative technologies and methods to build roads, bridges and highways better, faster and more cost-effectively...

Construction on Tappan Zee Bridge replacement

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Yes, Virginia, you and the rest of the world's boys and girls can rest easy; thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration and NextGen, there will be a transglobal Santa flight this year!

We can confirm reports that FAA safety inspectors in the North Pole have been working closely with us elves on-site and have cleared the Santa One sleigh to deliver toys to boys and girls throughout the world who’ve been good for goodness sake...

Santa reviews flight plan with elves

 

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America is leading the global effort to end the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. And part of the Obama Administration's whole-of-government response has included some recent heavy lifting by two ships from the Maritime Administration's (MARAD) Ready Reserve Force, the M/V Cape Rise and the M/V Cape Wrath.

Today, we're happy to report that the volunteer civilian mariners crewing the Cape Rise and Cape Wrath are home for the holidays...

Photo of Cape Wrath crew
Crew of Cape Wrath before departing on Ebola aid mission; courtesy of Maritime Executive.
Continue Reading Safe return a welcome ››
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Not all of the goals we work toward at DOT allow for straightforward measurement, but with our number one priority--safety--the statistics tell a pretty clear story. And on Friday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the 2013 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data showing a 3.1 percent decrease in the number of road deaths from the previous year and a nearly 25 percent decline since 2004. The estimated number of people injured in crashes also declined by 2.1 percent from 2012.

The 2013 FARS data also tell us that America's highway fatality rate -1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled-- is at its lowest point ever. Ever.

That improvement in safety doesn't just happen on its own. It's the result of the men and women of NHTSA and our many safety partners educating drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. It's the result of better-engineered roadways. And it's the result of vigilant enforcement by police departments and state highway patrol officers...

Photo of young woman driver putting on seat belt

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Earlier this week, I was in Dearborn, Michigan, to celebrate completion of the John D. Dingell Transit Center. This multimodal transit center, funded by a Recovery Act grant of $28.2 million, is a great example of how a collaborative approach to station development can meet the needs of everyone involved. The new station in Dearborn is a win for the disability community, freight shippers, and passenger rail.

One of the center’s most significant achievements is its accessibility. The platforms at the new station have been designed to provide level boarding to all rail passengers directly from the platform to the new fleet of passenger rail cars that will operate throughout the Midwest network. By coordinating respectfully with each other, project partners were able to engineer a solution that ensured the rights of the disability community and ensured the flow of freight traffic was not impinged...

Photo of F.R.A. Administrator Joe Szabo at Dearborn Station

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This holiday season, almost 99 million people will be hitting the roads (and rails and seas and skies). And at DOT, it’s our job to help keep them safe.

We thought about writing a white paper to tell you how we do this… but then we said, “Nah. Let’s do it with GIFs.”

So today, if you navigate over to BuzzFeed, you'll find a list of 10 ways DOT is making holiday travel safer and easier.

Animated GIF riffing on Rudolph's red nose and drunk driving enforcement efforts

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A dream of controlled flight brought bicycle-mechanics Wilbur and Orville Wright from Dayton, Ohio, to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. On December 17, 1903, after years of experimentation, they achieved the first successful airplane flight. It lasted for about 12 seconds, went about 120 feet, and changed everything.

Today, on what President Obama has declared Wright Brothers Day, we celebrate those 12 seconds of flight that propelled human aviation forward for the next 111 years.

We also celebrate the research, engineering, and perseverance that made that moment possible. Those same factors have led to continued advances in aviation, changing the way we travel and bringing about a truly global economy...

Photo of early Wright Brothers flight

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