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Today we’re taking the next steps to make sure that every American car and truck has air bags that work properly.

Over the last several months, air bags made by the world’s largest manufacturer –Takata– have come under question.  Investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suspected that the air bag inflators did not work correctly.  And we believe that they have been responsible for at least five deaths in the United States.

But up until now, Takata has refused to acknowledge that their air bags are defective. That changes today.

Today, Takata has entered into a consent order with NHTSA.  The company has agreed to declare that the air bag inflators in question are defective, and that it is recalling the inflators...nationwide.  The consent order also requires Takata's full cooperation with NHTSA going forward...

At the Takata announcement

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Today the House of Representatives voted on its 33rd short-term funding measure for transportation in the past 6 years, and Americans will pay the price.

On the surface, funding transportation drop-by-drop might not seem like such a big problem.  But it is, and the facts are unassailable.  This era of short-term patches and chronic federal underinvestment has crippled America’s ability to build the transportation system we need.

This is not anyone's idea of the preferred outcome.  And while we recognize that Congress needs more time to complete work on what we do want –a long-term bill that increases investment in our nation’s infrastructure, the White House has made it clear that this pattern of perpetual uncertainty must stop...

Overburdened road
The light might be green, but no one's going anywhere.
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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) relies on its partnership with transit agencies and state safety oversight agencies to make a safe industry even safer.  The job of transit safety oversight requires easy and convenient access to the latest training and technical methods and resources.

Earlier this month, the FTA launched its new safety training and resource website, safety.fta.dot.gov, to deliver on our important safety responsibilities...

Screen capture of F.T.A. safety website

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Today -- during National Bike Month -- I am excited to announce the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) new Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide.

What exactly is a “separated bike lane” (sometimes referred to as a “cycle track” or “protected bike lane”)?  In simple terms, it’s a portion of a roadway for bicyclists that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic.

These lanes are an important tool communities across the U.S. can use to build safe, comfortable, and connected networks of bicycle infrastructure that meet the needs of people of all ages and abilities...

Chicago bike lane

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If you noticed an unusually high number of commuters on two wheels and under pedal power last Friday, that's because it was Bike To Work Day (B2WD).  And while it's not exactly the most widely-observed day on the national calendar --yet!-- it is something to celebrate.

For regular bike commuters, it might just have been another Friday in May.  But perhaps the most interesting aspect of B2WD is the number of not-so-regular bicyclists who come out of the woodwork. 

Bike To Work Day web image

Thanks to B2WD pit stops and other activities that communities across America hosted, many riders who might otherwise drive, walk, or ride transit, learn that bicycling to work is a reasonable option --not mention fun, healthy, and sustainable.  Some communities also encourage new bike commuters by hosting guided rides and ride-buddy programs...

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Fast Lane readers know that public transportation provides support for millions of hardworking Americans trying to get to jobs, a doctor's office, school, and other key places.  For some families, even a routine trip to buy groceries requires multiple transit buses.

And when bus service is less than reliable --a bus breaks down or is even just late enough that you miss the next connection-- it's not just an inconvenience; it's a hardship.  And it's an obstacle to the basic struggle not just of trying to get a little bit ahead, but of simply trying to stay afloat.

So for folks in L.A. who depend on the bus, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (LACMTA) Division 13 Bus Maintenance and Operations Facility, a new, state-of-the-art facility that will significantly improve bus service in the heart of the city, is more than just a garage.

It's a lifeline, and it's exactly the kind of investment in public transportation infrastructure that we need to continue making...

Sec. Foxx with Mayor Garcetti
Photo courtesy @MetroLosAngeles.
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The signs of spring are all around: warmer weather, blooming flowers, and the return of America’s pastime, baseball. When the weather heats up, it’s time for us all to step up to protect kids from heatstroke caused by being left unattended in a vehicle.

On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside your car or truck can rise to deadly levels in only 10 minutes, even if the window is rolled down two inches. When a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child dies.

Since 1998, 636 children have died of heatstroke when left in a car or truck. It happens even when the weather outside isn’t very warm, it can happen fast, and it's 100 percent preventable...

Heat stroke statistics

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Safety is our first priority here at the DOT.  It always has been; it always will be.  That's why today, it was my privilege to take part in events highlighting vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) and vehicle automation technology innovations.

Companies like these are at the forefront of producing one of the most sought after technologies in transportation –the self-driving car.  In April, Delphi Automotive completed a 3,400 mile journey from California to New York with 99 percent of the drive taking place in fully automated mode.  The company has said before “Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication are key to achieving Delphi’s vision of zero fatalities, zero accidents and zero injuries on the world's roadways.” 

We couldn't agree more with those goals.  Like Delphi, DOT is also committed to a world with zero traffic fatalities. 

And in light of that commitment, I'm proud to announce that DOT is accelerating our timetable on a proposed V2V rule that would require vehicle-to-vehicle equipment --technology that allows cars to “talk” to one another-- in all new vehicles.  V2V technology is a critical element of the connected automation that makes driverless cars as safe as possible...

Secretary Foxx at Delphi Automotive, photo by David Louie
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Last night around 9:30 p.m., Amtrak train #188 bound from Washington, DC, to New York City derailed in Philadelphia.  At least six people have been reported dead, and many others were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board has investigators on the scene, and NTSB is leading the accident investigation.

Secretary Foxx was alerted immediately after the derailment occurred and vowed "to work with NTSB to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of this devastating event.”

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In the spirit of #InfrastructureWeek, it is important to recognize that the future presents a number of serious transportation challenges. 

Our population is increasing, our roads are deteriorating, and as the President likes to say, “We have 100,000 bridges old enough for Medicare.”  Congestion is choking economic growth and slowing job growth.  Business owners are finding it harder to ship their goods, and folks are finding it harder to get to work.  In fact, the New York Times recently reported that commuting time is the single largest factor when calculating the odds of escaping poverty.  Never before has the connection between economic prosperity and transportation been so self-evident.  So Congress must be acting to meet the needs of modern transportation, right?  Think again.

Yesterday, Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, sent a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations expressing his concerns with the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.  In his letter, Mr. Donovan made it clear that the bill proposed by members of the committee seriously underfunds important investments that are necessary to address the very real challenges of both housing and infrastructure. 

I echo Mr. Donovan’s concerns...

Shaun Donovan and Anthony Foxx

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