Congratulations are in order this week to Greg Winfree, who was sworn in on Monday as the new Administrator of our Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).
Though prior to Monday, the sign on his door read "Deputy Administrator," Administrator Winfree was very much prepared on his first day. After all, he had already been at RITA's helm in an "Acting" capacity since October 2011.
President Obama nominated him for Administrator in July of this year, and he was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx administers the oath of office to new RITA Administrator Greg Winfree while his wife, Frances, looks on.
The Federal Aviation Administration is allowing airlines to expand passengers' use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight--yes, that means while your aircraft is taxiing, taking off, and landing.
Now, expanded use will not happen overnight. But eventually, passengers will be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions.
At DOT, we’re committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a ride to earn a paycheck, attend school, see the doctor, or buy groceries has that opportunity – whether they live in an urban center, a rural community, or on tribal land.
That’s why I was pleased to speak to the National Tribal Transportation Conference in Prior Lake, Minnesota, about the Obama Administration’s strong commitment to improving tribal transportation resources and safety.
Transportation recovery continues moving forward with DOT support
In the year since Hurricane Sandy, we have worked closely with our state and federal partners to help restore transportation systems in affected states, while also working to ensure that new infrastructure is built to withstand future storms.
Rebuilding damaged roads, bridges, tunnels, and transit lines is no easy task. And this Department has worked hard to speed relief and recovery funds to the state and local agencies doing the heavy lifting. That lifting is the real work, and the men and women doing it deserve our thanks.
Hurricane Sandy provided a devastating reminder of how much we depend on our transportation systems.
When it’s time to take your car in for a tune-up, you want a shop that’s got the right equipment and can turn the job around quickly so you can get back on the road. America's transit agencies need the same qualities in their bus maintenance facilities.
That's why the Federal Transit Administration helps transit systems modernize their bus shops and keep their fleet in a state of good repair.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is adding to our road safety message this week (see the October 24 post on Teen Driver Safety Week) with Operation Safe Driver, an all-out effort to combat the number of deaths resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and passenger vehicles.
During Operation Safe Driver, our safety partners are stepping up commercial vehicle and non-commercial vehicle traffic enforcement; safety belt enforcement; and driver roadside inspections. They're also increasing commercial driver safety education efforts.
But an equally important part of this campaign is the effort to raise awareness among the public about safe operations around commercial motor vehicles.
FMCSA Administrator speaks at an Operation Safe Driver event in Hartford.
At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as it is throughout the entire Department of Transportation, safety is our highest priority. And when it comes to safety behind the wheel, we are especially concerned about our least experienced drivers, America's teens.
That’s why on Tuesday, I was pleased to join Dr. Flaura Winston of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for National Teen Driver Safety Week and the launch of NHTSA’s new education campaign directed at the parents and guardians of young drivers: “5 to Drive.”
“5 to Drive” is all about getting parents and guardians to engage in an ongoing discussion with their teens about safe driving. We’re asking parents and guardians to reinforce five basic rules with any young drivers in their family.
Now more than ever, we're being asked to stretch every transportation dollar as far as possible. One of the most effective ways we're doing that at the Federal Highway Administration is through our Every Day Counts initiative, which is saving State DOT's millions of dollars and delivering the benefits of road and bridge projects to travelers much more quickly.
If you want to see the future of project delivery, just take a look at the winners of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 America's Transportation Awards Competition and the states that made them happen. These two projects delivered the benefits of better roads, bridges, and highways sooner and more efficiently, using Every Day Counts innovations promoted by the Federal Highway Administration.
Utah's I-15 Corridor Grand Prize-winning project
You might have noticed that a number of my recent blog posts have reached a similar conclusion: that rail deserves a predictable and reliable federal funding stream. The most recent news supporting this comes from Amtrak, which recently announced their 10th annual ridership record in 11 years. Amtrak carried 31.6 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2013. And as you can see from this chart below, the railroad’s ridership has grown more than 50 percent since 2000.
I want to congratulate the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association on 40 years of effective advocacy for road safety, fair treatment of America's truck drivers, and an efficient transportation network. OOIDA has come a long way since its beginnings at a truck stop on I-70. And today, the group is an important partner to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration--particularly on safety issues.
The safety culture that OOIDA has developed among its members has been tremendously important--for commercial drivers, their families, and everyone on our roadways.