Under the leadership of Secretary Anthony Foxx, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has continued its commitment to making the U.S. transportation system the safest in the world. In his first week at DOT, Secretary Foxx managed the Department’s response to both the crash of Asiana Flight 214 and the Lac-Megantic derailment. He has made improving safety, and particularly the safe transportation of crude oil, a priority in his first year, in addition to increasing transportation investment, and improving efficiency and using innovation to stretch transportation dollars further.
Since his first week in office, Secretary Foxx has worked aggressively to improve the safe transportation of crude oil by rail. DOT has taken more than two dozen unprecedented actions to enforce regulations, reduce risks and enhance safety, including most recently requiring railroads transporting crude to inform states that the product is moving through their communities and urging the use of stronger tank cars when moving Bakken crude.
Secretary Foxx has lead safety improvements across all modes of transportation, including issuing a final rule advancing commercial pilot training, launching the Everyone Is a Pedestrian initiative and shutting down more than 100 bus companies with the most egregious safety and compliance problems. In December, Secretary Foxx put the nation on the road to revolutionizing vehicle safety by announcing that the federal government would require vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication in new vehicles, which would help improve safety by allowing vehicles to "talk" to each other so they can warn drivers if a crash is imminent. In May, Secretary Foxx issued a record $35 million fine against General Motors due to the automaker’s failure to report a safety defect to the government in a timely manner.
Efficiency and Innovation
Under Secretary Foxx's leadership, the Department has closed 14 TIFIA loans for almost $6.5 billion leveraging over $21 billion in total investment, the most in a single year of the program. This includes a $1.6 billion TIFIA loan, the largest in the program’s history, to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York. The project represents both the Department’s focus on innovative finance and its efforts to increase efficiency, as DOT completed the permitting and review process in only 15 months, meeting the Administration's goal of accelerating project delivery by expanding permitting reform efforts. Secretary Foxx has also continued the Department’s progress on NextGen implementation, announcing the launch of NextGen satellite technology in the Houston Metroplex area in June, which will deliver more on-time flights, and will save up to three million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon emissions by as much as 31,000 metric tons each year.
Increasing Investment in Infrastructure
Over the past year, Secretary Foxx has led the call for increased investment in infrastructure. Last September, Secretary Foxx announced that 52 transportation projects in 37 states would receive a total of approximately $474 million from DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2013 discretionary grant program. In a January speech before the Transportation Research Board, Secretary Foxx outlined his transportation vision, highlighting America’s infrastructure deficit and identifying ways to stretch transportation dollars. There, he announced that DOT wouldbegin posting monthly on its website how much money the Highway Trust Fund has left, and update that number monthly until the fund can sustain itself or until it runs out.
In April, Secretary Foxx led an eight state bus tour beginning in Columbus, Ohio, and ending in Dallas, Texas, making the case for a robust multi-year federal investment that will address the current shortfall and meet the country’s future needs, all without adding to the deficit. He followed the bus tour with the introduction of the GROW AMERICA Act, which will replenish the Highway Trust Fund through pro-growth business tax reform. The $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal will support millions of American jobs repair and modernize roads, bridges, railways, and transit systems, legislation he continues to encourage Congress to adopt in order to help ensure that American businesses can compete in the global economy.
Over the last year, Secretary Foxx has traveled to 29 states and Puerto Rico, 67 cities and 7 countries. He has testified before Congress five times.