I recently blogged about a new fleet of Amtrak locomotives being tested at the Transportation Technology Center, (TTC) in Colorado – today I’m here to tell you how this same center is training first responders to respond to a rail accident involving hazardous materials.
The Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC), housed at TTC, has trained more than 50,000 men and women since it opened in 1985. Today, in addition to serving the transportation industry, SERTC trains the public safety officials from local communities, the chemical industry, government agencies, and emergency response contractors from all over the world. In fact, there’s nowhere else in the nation where emergency responders can receive such extensive, hands-on, realistic training to prepare for a rail accident involving tank cars carrying hazardous materials.
With ReCat, busy FedEx World Hub increases departure capacity
Last week, on a visit to Memphis, I was fortunate to have the opportunity of touring the FedEx World Hub at Memphis International Airport. The FedEx facility covers more than 800 acres and is operated by more than 11,000 FedEx employees moving an average of over 1.5 million packages through the hub each day.
What I saw is a terrific example of using innovation to improve transportation...
Last weekend in Wisconsin, the National Governors Association held its annual Summer Meeting. There, governors met to discuss the critical issues facing states and to share their experiences and best practices for addressing those issues. I was honored to participate in a joint session of the NGA's Economic Development & Commerce and Natural Resources committees, "Under Construction: Building a National Consensus on Infrastructure."
In kicking off the session, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard reminded participants that "Infrastructure is a backbone to our nation and our states, sustaining quality of life and promoting the flow of commerce. As governors, we understand the connections between roads and bridges, locks and dams, and the communities they serve."
"Infrastructure connects us," Governor Daugaard said, "and its planning, construction, operation, and maintenance requires a national commitment."
Our Federal Railroad Administration has helped reduce train accidents by 43 percent over the last decade; their work helped make 2012 the safest year in American rail history. But when safety is your number one priority, there's no resting. Last Friday, the FRA took another step forward in rail safety, issuing an Emergency Order and Safety Advisory to help prevent unattended trains carrying hazardous materials from moving unintentionally.
Friday's announcement was made in response to the tragic July 6 derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. While the full investigation has not yet to concluded, we can't afford to wait to take steps that would help prevent a similar incident from occurring here in the U.S. The American people deserve no less.
In May, $98.6 billion in goods moved into and out of the U.S. across our borders with Mexico ($43.8 billion) and Canada ($54.8 billion). Wondering how those raw materials, parts, supplies, finished goods, and food that fuel our economy got where they needed to go? The pie chart above has your breakdown. Is there an alpha dog in the NAFTA trade pack? Trucking makes its claim with nearly 61 percent of U.S. trade with our North American neighbors.
In cities and towns across the country, rail investments lead to more jobs, increased private sector buy-in, and better infrastructure for everyone. It’s a true win-win-win situation. And to fully realize the potential for rail in America, we must continue investing federal resources and leveraging them with our public and private sector partners.
That's the essence of what I said at a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on Innovative Rail Financing earlier this week. Funding the passenger rail investments America needs is an important challenge; fortunately DOT has a lot to build on.
To get agricultural and manufacturing products to world markets, producers need to transport them in shipping containers that are standardized for trucks, trains, and ships. Unfortunately, businesses in Montana can't ship or receive containerized international cargo effectively because the state lacks an inland port capable of accepting and delivering intermodal unit trains.
That's where DOT's TIGER program comes in. This competitive grant program was designed to support transportation solutions that also generate economic growth. And today the program continued its track record of doing exactly that with a grant of $10 million for the Port of Northern Montana Multimodal Hub Center to expand the capacity of Montana’s producers.
“The Multimodal Hub Center will provide Montana with an inland port that will help increase trade and create economic opportunities for its residents and businesses,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Devore Interchange project latest in DOT support to improve freight movement
California's Devore Interchange is a critical freight link serving 21,000 trucks each day. It links Interstates 15 and 215; and it connects freight traffic from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with critical points east. It also carries more than one million drivers per week and can back up as far as five miles due to excess volume.
A bottleneck like that doesn't just slow down San Bernardino County; it slows down our nation's economy. So we're pleased to see that California has broken ground on a modernized Devore Interchange that will relieve freight congestion through this critical corridor.
Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau was on hand to help state and local officials celebrate the start of this important project. And he offered three terrific reasons for the $245 million federal investment to see this work through...
Today, I am thrilled to begin serving as the 17th U.S. Secretary of Transportation. In my first official blog post, I wanted to tell you more about myself and my goals for leading DOT.
I believe in safe, effective transportation, and whether it is a bus, road, train, plane, or ship, our transportation system --at its best-- connects people to a better quality of life.