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Apparently, the first Friday in October is Manufacturing Day. I say "apparently" because here at DOT, we're thinking about America's manufacturers more often than that.

When we invest American dollars in transportation projects, those projects are made of manufactured items and vehicles. Track, ties, and locomotives for rail. Catenary and cars for streetcars. Buses and benches and shelters for public transit.

Then, there's the fact that these items and vehicles are built with component materials that are also manufactured --from innovative wheelsets to hybrid engines all the way down to the nuts and bolts that literally hold our transportation system together...

Infographic on manufacturing and the economy

Continue Reading It's obvious, but ››
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For years now, states, cities, and communities across the country have watched Portland, Oregon, emerge as a leader in urban transportation. From streetcars to light rail to bike lanes, Portland has been touted by more than one Secretary of Transportation for its forward thinking.

But today, other communities are joining the ranks of transportation innovators. Places like Omaha and Richmond are building bus rapid transit. Indianapolis is building bicycle and pedestrian paths, and like Portland, they’re seeing safety improve and businesses grow in the process.

Still I did see some evidence in Portland earlier this week that the Rose City is not giving up its innovation title without a fight...

Photo of Secretary Foxx touring the Tilamuk Crossing

Continue Reading Portland not alone on ››
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The more than 25,000 miles of navigable Great Lakes, rivers, and waterways that make up America’s Marine Highway System are --and will remain-- a key economic asset.  Our nation’s marine highway routes and the tugs and barges that ply those marine highways help alleviate landside congestion; accommodate future freight growth; and provide reliable, competitive alternatives for freight shippers.

However, smooth sailing is not always guaranteed. For example, winter weather can cause the waters off the coasts of New England states --part of M-95, a crucial marine highway running all the way from Maine to Florida-- to be too rough for tugs to safely push or pull cargo-loaded barges. That’s why DOT's Maritime Administration (MARAD) has supported the Maine Port Authority’s development of a next-level cargo vessel designed specifically to handle that unique marine environment...

Rendering of the new A.T.B. design from Maine Port Authority

Continue Reading Marine Highway Momentum ››
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If you read my Fast Lane post from yesterday, then you know I was in Kansas City on Monday. And in addition to seeing the Prospect Avenue corridor on that trip, I also was able to visit the workers who are replacing the city's Manchester Bridge.

This bridge serves 90,000 vehicles a day; it feeds tons of freight into the Blue Valley Industrial District. But the current structure has deteriorated to the point where it has required repair after repair in recent years just to keep stay open.

Now, thanks to recent investment, the bridge will soon be able to move people and goods safely and reliably for generations to come. So, yes, we’re proud of that, but –to be honest– we’re also concerned...

Photo of Secretary Foxx with KC construction workers

Continue Reading Also in Kansas City, ››
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Carrying 95 percent of U.S. foreign trade, our maritime transportation system, which includes America’s ports, is a crucial component of our nation’s economy. And with our growing population --and the associated need to increase the amount of freight our transportation network carries-- maritime’s value will only grow in the future.

This point is not lost on the Obama Administration, and it’s the reason why Vice President Joe Biden joined U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-3), Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim, Virginia Port Authority CEO/Executive Director John Reinhart, and me at the Port of Virginia in Norfolk on Wednesday. We were there to highlight the Port’s role as an economic engine for the region and its continued development of facilities and services in anticipation of the need to move greater freight volumes...

Photo of VP Biden in Norfolk

Continue Reading Vice President Biden ››
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President Obama has taken unprecedented action to build the foundation for a clean energy economy, tackle the issue of climate change and protect our environment.  The maritime industry understands and embraces this thinking not only because it makes sense, but also as it will be essential to future viability of marine transportation.   The industry continues to take a leading role in environmental responsibility and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is helping them chart the course.

With two recently released reports examining storage and bunkering options for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and providing vital data on natural gas emissions, MARAD’s Office of Environment and Safety is providing information the industry needs to transition to cleaner burning fuels. And by identifying potential challenges and recommending best practices and new standards, MARAD is working to streamline the development of a transportation network that supports the integration of natural gas as a marine fuel.

Yesterday, we took another step forward with approval of a $324.6 million Title XI loan guarantee to TOTE Shipholdings, Inc., a 2014 White House Transportation Champion of Change, to finance construction of two container ships that will use LNG as propulsion fuel...

Continue Reading With DOT support, maritime ››
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When we talk about DOT's TIGER program, we often use the word, "transformative." Because the projects that we have selected for these grants since the program's beginning in 2009 have been projects that make a significant difference to their communities.

And this past weekend in Tulsa, I saw a terrific demonstration of TIGER's transformative power in not one --but two-- grrrrrreat! projects, the I-244 Bridges and the Riverside Drive-Gathering Place Multimodal Access Project...

Photo of Victor Mendez in Tulsa
Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez speaking at ribbon-cutting for I-244 Eastbound Bridge; photos by Stephen Pingry, Tulsa World.
Continue Reading DOT's TIGER, ››
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Today, I’m pleased to announce the sixth round of DOT’s TIGER program. We’re making nearly $600 million in grants and awarding them to 72 transportation projects across 46 states and in DC.

Over the last six years, we’ve awarded more than $4 billion in these TIGER grants, but this round of investment is probably the most crucial ever...

Map of U.S. showing locations of TIGER projects

Continue Reading DOT's TIGER is on the ››
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We all know the “road to prosperity” is a metaphor, but what if it were an actual road?

The fact is, investing in transportation creates value, and that means it’s a worthwhile investment—for public funds, yes, but also for the private sector. So, with public investments in our nation’s important transportation assets steadily declining, we need to find better ways to partner with private investors to help rebuild America...

Photo of backed up traffic on Tappan Zee Bridge

Continue Reading Infrastructure investment ››
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Last week, I traveled to Pittsburgh to participate at this year’s North American Inspectors Championships (NAIC) and the National Truck Driving Championships hosted respectively by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the American Trucking Associations.

Earlier in the week, FMCSA Chief Safety Officer and Assistant Administrator Jack Van Steenburg kicked off the competition by recognizing the contestants’ contributions to safety and the agency’s appreciation for their professionalism.

In 2012 alone, truck and bus safety inspectors conducted 3.5 million roadside inspections all across the United States. These highly trained safety professionals are the backbone of our nation’s commercial motor vehicle safety program.  Their hard work and dedication helps ensure that drivers and companies operate safely and that those that don’t are removed from the road.

 
Continue Reading ‘Best of the Best’ ››
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