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Secretary LaHood Awards $6.5 Million To Ease Truck Parking Shortages in Michigan and Minnesota.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood awarded $4,480,000 to Michigan’s I-94 Truck Parking and Information Management System and $2,049,940 to Minnesota’s Comprehensive System for Assessing Truck Parking Availability. Both systems will deliver real-time information on parking availability through Intelligent Transportation Systems. The Federal Highway Administration is providing the grants under the Truck Parking Facilities Discretionary Grants Program. The program helps improve safety on the nation’s interstates by promoting projects that allow trucks to park safely and securely in areas away from moving traffic, instead of alongside the road itself.

BTS Releases Special Report on Decline in Person Crossings from Mexico and Canada into the United States.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today released A Decade of Decline in Person Crossings From Mexico and Canada into the United States, a review of the 10-year decline in border crossings by individuals by mode of transportation. Crossings along U.S. land borders declined 37 percent from 2000 to 2009, from about 400 million persons to 252 million. Crossings at the Canadian border declined most rapidly, falling 40 percent from 2000 to 2009. Crossings along the Mexican border also decreased, falling 36 percent. In 2009, there were about 252 million person crossings into the United States from Mexico and Canada. The majority of those crossings, 75 percent, took place along the Mexican border. Personal vehicles were used for most of the crossings, 77 percent, along both borders. An additional 17 percent of total crossings were by pedestrians. This report examines the trends in person crossings by mode rather than reasons for the decline. See North American Border Crossing/Entry Data for more information.

PHMSA Releases 2011 Report on Hazardous Materials Involved in Incidents.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released an online report ranking both the top hazardous materials and transportation processes that were related to serious incidents and fatalities from 2005 to 2009. The Top Consequence Hazardous Materials Commodities Report is part of a series of steps that will help PHMSA identify areas of concern, target risks for particular types of hazardous materials, and plan how to mitigate future incidents. The report’s data will also help educate enforcement authorities, inspectors and first responders on trends in the transport of hazmat, which will help them set priorities to better deal with the materials and modes of transportation that could have the most damaging effects.

U.S. DOT Appoints Van Steenburg Assistant Administrator and Chief Safety Officer of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that Jack Van Steenburg has been appointed Assistant Administrator and Chief Safety Officer of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Prior to his appointment, Van Steenburg served as the director of FMCSA’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, where he led all enforcement programs that contribute to safe commercial vehicle transportation nationwide. During his decorated 25-year career with the New York State Police Department, Van Steenburg was responsible for all state highway safety programs and was elected president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. In his new capacity, Van Steenburg will act as FMCSA’s chief safety advocate promoting partnerships with federal, state and local governments and providing direction over all national commercial vehicle safety programs. Van Steenburg’s new position is one of three U.S. DOT career postings that require Presidential approval.

Friday, April 29, 2011