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This morning, Secretary Foxx blogged about the opening of Denver's revitalized Union Station, a model for the nation of multimodal mobility and of innovative financing. It's hard to think of a better project to kick-off a week that features two key celebrations: National Transportation Week and Infrastructure Week.

N.T.W. logoOn May 16, 1957, Congress approved the third Friday of May each year as National Defense Transportation Day. And in 1962, Congress updated the request to include the whole week as National Transportation Week to provide an opportunity to celebrate the community of transportation professionals who keep our country moving.

Infrastructure Week 2014 is led by a diverse partnership of organizations including the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, Building America’s Future, 1776, the Organization for International Investment, the Value of Water Coalition, and the National Association of Manufacturers.

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Yesterday, in a post about energy transportation safety, I wrote that in the near future, we're going to have to move more energy. Well, the reality is that we’re going to have to move more everything --more people and more goods. In fact, by 2050, we’ll have to move almost twice the amount of freight we currently do.

And whether we are ready to do that safely and efficiently is more of an open question now than it ever has been, mostly because we have struggled to maintain transportation funding levels in recent years.

Earlier this week, I sent a letter to all the state departments of transportation. It warned them that, if action isn’t taken, the Highway Trust Fund could become insolvent as soon as August. And if that happens, it will be nearly impossible for communities to keep their infrastructure in good shape.

Photo of functionally obsolete bridge

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As Secretary Foxx has said many times, the only way we’re going to fix America’s transportation infrastructure is if everyone puts their ideas on the table and has an honest discussion about how we can find common ground and forge a path forward.

That’s why, one week ago, Secretary Foxx submitted the Department’s surface transportation proposal GROW AMERICA to Congress, and that’s why America’s maritime industry came together yesterday in Washington, D.C., to chart a sustainable marine transportation system course for the future...

The Maritime Administration's web banner

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Last Tuesday, it was a privilege to be able to send Congress the GROW AMERICA transportation bill, our comprehensive plan to create millions of good new jobs building the transportation system America will need to remain competitive in today’s economy. And it was an honor to cap the day by addressing the National Association of Rail Passengers (NARP) annual citizen advocacy event, "NARP Day on the Hill."

NARP members know as well I do that America will be home to 100 million more people by 2050, so we need to make sure we give people as many transportation options as possible – including rail.

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Today, I’m sending a legislative proposal to Congress that is designed to bring transportation ideas to the table.

Already, we’ve seen both parties make significant progress towards a bipartisan agreement on a multi-year bill that extends opportunity for workers and businesses alike. We believe our bill will help continue that progress.

The GROW AMERICA bill is based on the proposal the President announced in February. It ensures the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and also advances a number of common-sense bipartisan reforms...

Photo collage of various modes of transportation

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Happy Earth Day, everyone! At DOT, we're working every day to better protect our planet – and I know Fast Lane readers are, too. 

America's transportation system accounts for 1/3 of our greenhouse gas emissions, more than 1/2 of our nitrogen oxide emissions, and almost 3/4 of our oil consumption. Greening that system is central to our nation’s efforts to increase sustainability and reduce climate change.

That’s why DOT is so focused on building more efficient, sustainable transportation. We're building marine highways that can cut greenhouse gas emissions; investing in a NextGen air traffic control system to lower aviation fuel consumption; building more capacity in our rail systems, which can be a more sustainable way to move both people and freight; and we’re helping drivers save money and lower their carbon footprint, too...

Photo of woman waiting for a bus

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Yesterday’s leg of my “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour ended with a visit to the site of the I-49 North Segment K project currently under way in Shreveport, Louisiana.

A 19-mile segment opened last year, and construction workers are now completing the final mile of a 10-mile segment of the project, which is slated to open in May. 

It’s a remarkable effort, one eight years in the making.  And it’s going to make a huge difference – not just in the lives of the folks who live near there, but folks throughout the nation. 

Photo of Secretary Foxx at the I-49 North project event

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I started day four of my “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour by participating in a roundtable discussion with Congressman Bennie Thompson and local officials at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi.  It was a great opportunity to hear firsthand about the challenges facing the region and the need to create ladders of opportunity to connect folks to jobs, schools, and a better quality of life.

Photo of Secretary Foxx speaking at the roundtable meeting at Tougaloo College

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After visiting the Ohio River Bridges project, I headed to UPS Worldport in Louisville, where I had a great conversation with Scott Davis, Chairman and CEO of UPS, and business leaders from around the region.

What they made clear to me is the scope of the challenge we’re facing when it comes to transportation in America. 

By 2050, we’re going to have to haul an additional 14 billion tons of freight around this country. Needless to say, without new investment, supply chains will fall apart, hindering job growth and harming retailers, manufacturers, and the millions of American consumers who need their goods to be transported efficiently and affordably.

That’s why we’re working so hard to spread the message that investments in infrastructure are absolutely crucial to the health of our nation’s economy.

After our roundtable discussion, I had a chance to tour the Worldport facility with Scott Davis.  It’s a great operation – processing an average of 1.6 million packages a day.  In fact, I learned that the average package spends only 13 minutes inside the facility!  We have one of the best freight systems in the world – but we need to continue investing to stay that way.

Photo of Secretary Foxx touring UPS Worldport

 
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This morning, I traveled to Pickaway County, Ohio to kick off my “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour. Over the next five days, I’ll be traveling to eight states – and logging roughly 2,000 miles – to raise awareness about the difference transportation can make in our country and the importance of investing in better transportation – and a brighter future.

There’s no better example than the work taking place right now in Pickaway County to improve our ability to move freight in Ohio and across the country.

This road project received $16 million from DOT’s TIGER program. And it’s a worthwhile investment because it’s going to make a difference in the lives of hundreds – if not hundreds of thousands – of Americans.

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