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Secretary’s Awards Ceremony

Secretary Anthony Foxx

 Remarks at the Secretary’s Awards Ceremony

Washington, D.C. • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thank you, Deputy Secretary Porcari, for the introduction.

And thank you all for being here, too – and, more than that, for the work you’ve done… and the challenges you’ve conquered… and the history you’ve made.

Yes, history.

When President Johnson signed the legislation creating this Department, he said – and I’m quoting here – that “in large measure, America’s history is a history of her transportation.”

Of course, when it came to transportation, Lyndon Johnson was also known for driving with one hand on the radio dial. That way, he could easily switch what news broadcaster he wanted to shout obscenities at.  

His history of transportation, I would guess, had a lot of four-letter words in it.

But nonetheless, President Johnson was right. Those engaged in the work of building the world’s greatest transportation system – and keeping it that way – do make history.

And I’m not just talking about people, long gone, who built the Brooklyn Bridge – or laid the first routes of the Interstate Highway System.

I’m talking about us… about you.

When, last year, Hurricane Sandy battered infrastructure on the East Coast, the Department of Transportation responded, rebuilding it stronger before.

Others in this building have ensured that pilots are better trained… and that motorcoaches are safer… that lakes, rivers and waterways carry their share of freight… and that MAP-21 is implemented efficiently and collaboratively.

And you did it all while enduring a government shutdown – while not being thanked as fully or as often as you should for what you’ve built and maintained.

Today, we call these things infrastructure projects. But, years ago, when they built infrastructure projects, they called them something different: They called them “wonders.”

Now, I’ve only been Secretary for a few months. But every day from my first day, that’s what I’ve seen you do: Build wonders.

So on behalf of the President…

On behalf of the Department…

On behalf of the many millions of drivers and fliers, mariners and train travelers who, every day, without thinking about it, get home safely because of your work…

Thank you.

Thank you for the wonders you accomplish and the history you make.

And congratulations on your remarkable achievements.

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Updated: Monday, December 15, 2014