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DOT Selects Jackson, Miss. for Nonstop Service to Reagan Washington National Airport.   Jackson, Miss. will continue to receive a daily nonstop flight to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport by US Airways under a decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Delta Air Lines ceased its Washington-Jackson service in March and gave up the two slot exemptions the Department awarded the carrier in 2004.  A slot, or slot exemption, is the right to take off or land at an airport where operations are limited, and two slots or slot exemptions are needed for a round-trip flight.  Slot exemptions were created at Reagan National to, among other things, promote airline competition and service to underserved communities.  US Airways has been operating the Washington-Jackson route on a temporary basis since March while the Department made a final decision on which carrier’s proposal it would approve.  In its decision, the Department said continuing the service to Jackson would provide the greatest public benefits from the slot exemptions.  Also applying for the exemptions were Frontier Airlines, for service to Louisville, KY; and Southwest Airlines, for service to Oklahoma City.  The Department’s order is available at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2000-7182.  Contact: Bill Mosley (202) 366-4570.
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood Awards more than $11.5 million to Replace Two Freight Rail Bridges in Kentucky  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded more than $11.5 million to the State of Kentucky to replace two deteriorating freight rail bridges that are located on a heavily-utilized rail line extending between Paducah, Ky., and Louisville, Ky.  The funding is being provided under the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) III program, and the total project cost is $14,447,775.   The bridges are part of the Strategic Rail Corridor Network and Defense Connector Lines serving Fort Knox, Ky.  The Project will benefit base expansion, local industry, efficient and safe freight transportation, and economic growth. Contact:  Kevin Thompson (202) 493-6024.
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood Awards $1.1 million for Track Realignment and Upgrades in Alaska  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded $1.1 million to the Alaska Railroad Corporation to realign and upgrade track at Milepost (MP) 142 of the Alaska Railroad, under the Federal Railroad Administration’s Rail Line Relocation and Improvement program. The project will add a new road to provide better access for inspections and relocate and extend a maintenance spur track, thus mitigating the adverse effects of rail traffic on safety, motor vehicle traffic flow, and community quality of life. Upgrades will also be made to road crossings to improve safety and to the mainline and siding crossings to improve motor vehicle drivability. Contact: Kevin Thompson (202) 493-6024.
Geographic Databases for 2012 Released.  The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, released the 2012 edition of the National Transportation Atlas Databases (NTAD) this week.  The 2012 edition features updated datasets from last year’s NTAD. Also, substantial revisions were made to national parks, ports, National Bridge Inventory and railways.  This year’s NTAD consists of 32datasets, 16 of which were updated for this 2012 release.  The NTAD also includes: intermodal terminals, national railway crossings, non-attainment areas and transit rail lines and stations, among other data layers.  NTAD 2012 is provided in shapefile format, which is compatible with most Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software. It is provided with International Organization for Standards (ISO) formatted metadata for all shapefiles for the first time this year. Following the initial release earlier this week, BTS staff distributed copies of the 2012 NTAD to attendees of the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego. Contacts:  Press: Dave Smallen: (202) 366-5568.  For technical information and copies: Mark Bradford: (202) 366-6810.
University Transportation Center Grants Extended.  The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) will extend current University Transportation Center (UTC) grants by one year.  The 22 UTCs that were selected in January 2012 are currently using fiscal 2011 funds for their research.  RITA will extend their existing grants for one year and award 2012 funds to these programs.  In addition, under the recently enacted surface transportation reauthorization (MAP-21), RITA will hold a new UTC competition during fiscal 2013 and will provide funding through fiscal 2014, with selections and grant awards made no later than Oct. 1, 2013.   The UTC program, which began in 1987, awards grants to universities across the United States to advance state-of-the-art transportation research and develop the next generation of transportation professionals.  Contact: Nancy Wilochka (202) 366-7582.  
Friday, July 27, 2012