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DOT opens online dialogue on our next Strategic Plan

DOT opens online dialogue on our next Strategic Plan

The U.S. Department of Transportation has been working on our strategic plan for FY 2014 to FY 2018 since early this spring.  Developing and implementing our strategic plan is an important step in helping the Department address key priorities that represent the diverse interests of our stakeholders across the country.

Transportation is an engine for growing our economy and creating American jobs. Every day, people and businesses rely on a multi-modal transportation system to travel and to move goods to consumers at home and abroad. We know that wherever we invest in transportation infrastructure, opportunities for countless Americans follow. So we want to ensure that our strategic plan serves as a foundation for building, operating, and maintaining a safe and efficient transportation system. 

We also want to ensure that all of our stakeholders have an opportunity to read the plan and weigh in. And that means you.

Screen capture of the DOT Strategic Plan Online Dialogue website

For the next few weeks, you can review the plan and submit your ideas and comments at the DOT Strategic Plan Online Dialogue.  The dialogue also provides an opportunity to read and respond to what others are saying about the plan. Your participation will help us shape the future of transportation in America.

I appreciate any time you can offer to provide this important feedback, and I encourage you to give the Online Dialogue site a visit.  If you prefer, you can also email your comments directly to USDOTStrategicPlan@dot.gov

Thank you!

Anthony Foxx is the 17th U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

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instead of millions of people going to the store and buying groceries we can have the groceries come to us

I would like to ask that the US DOT consider three things. First, a group of associations representing state and local transportation and safety officials (coordinated by AASTHO) is already developing a National TZD Strategy. Why does the US DOT not just endorse and support this strategy for safety? This would seem to be the most efficient and effective solution. The National TZD Strategy has been generated by state agency and national experts in safety. This is based on the local traffic safety issues of each state. As such, it already represents a cogent and relevant safety strategy. I can imagine that the US DOT has neither the time nor the resources to invest in a process of developing a more credible and rational strategy. Second, why won't the entire US DOT accept a zero fatality goal? Other countries have done so with great success. Indeed, many of our states have themselves adopted zero fatality visions. For the US DOT to do otherwise undermines the goals of those states and also implies that the US DOT beliefs that some number of fatalities is acceptable. Why set goals that imply a lack of capability? I propose that this may be a time perspective issue. Whereas the US DOT may wish to set (realistic) goals in the short term, I would encourage the US DOT to accept the longer term vision of reaching complete success with zero fatalities. We have achieved this in commercial aviation in many years, so we know that this vision can motivate the necessary efforts and resources to achieve success. Finally, the US DOT needs to recognize that although we have been successful in reducing fatalities with our traditional methods of engineering, enforcement, education, and EMS - those improvements are becoming smaller year after year. One hypothesized reason is that our existing "traffic safety culture" is resisting further reductions in safety. This is because our culture still condones or encourages risky behaviors and resists types of traffic safety interventions known to be effective, but which are perceived to contradict our cultural rights. Until the US DOT applies resources and strategic plans to transform our Nation's traffic safety culture, we will always be dealing with risky behaviors after the fact either by punishing them (enforcement) or minimizing the injuries resulting from them (engineering). The US DOT needs to adopt a program to understand social and cultural determinants of risky behavior decisions. Only with this knowledge can we transform our traffic safety culture such that safe decisions and the valuation of safety become intrinsic to our identity as a member of our family, community, and nation. Safe driving needs to become an altruistic decision made by every person to protect members of our family, community, and nation to which we belong. In concluson, our efforts to transform our traffic safety culture need to be combined with our existing programs to enhance education, enforcement, engineering and EMS. Only by using all of our research and tools can we achieve our safety goals. And all these methods complement and support each other. Indeed, a transformed traffic safety culture would also increase acceptance and resource allocation for our traditional methods.

White Paper Ten Points to Rationalize and Restart the United States Maritime Industry Cartner & Fiske, LLC 1629 K St., NW Ste. 300 Washington, DC 20006 jacc@cflaw.net John A C Cartner Managing Member August 7, 2013 Piecemeal and stopgap measures added to existing and increasingly cumbersome and antiquated laws are not working to foster a strong US merchant marine foreign trade fleet and domestic fleet which are essential to the international and internal economy. Trade requires transport and the most efficient form of transport is by water. Indeed, some 94% of all international trade is by water. International trade was valued by the World Trade Organization for the United States in 2012 at $3,882.7 billion, of which approximately 95% was carried by ships. International trade is the foundation of our national security. Hence a vital, strong, modern and competitive merchant marine is essential to international trade and, therefore, domestic trade. The Department of Transportation should recognize these facts and take the proper steps required by law to encourage, rationalize and revitalize the United States commercial water shipping sector and infrastructure for both the foreign and domestic trades. A complete review of all maritime laws should be undertaken. The Congress should be encouraged to amend or abolish antiquated or ineffective laws to take into account the following concepts as national policy for the maritime industry. 1.Reform the Maritime Laws. New or amended laws should institute comprehensive and integrated legislative and regulatory reform. Laws and regulations should be coordinated with conventions, ratified treaties or those observed as customary law, and international regulations. Mechanisms should be put in place by such laws to ensure that changes in international regulations are easily implemented. These should all be done with the goal of increased employment opportunities in the US flag fleet, shipyards and ports. With this strategy, the US will not only meet but lead international and domestic waterborne economic activities in a vigorous and well-governed maritime industry in all its sectors. 2. Provide Shipyard Economic Opportunities. Policy should require that publicly-owned vessels, and any vessels used for government policy purposes, be built in United States shipyards with all materials purchased and produced in the United States and with all labor supplied by United States citizens or properly certified resident aliens. The policy goal should be to increase employment and to maintain a shipbuilding industrial base ready for times of national need and for the expected opportunities a new national maritime policy will provide. An example of such an opportunity may be the United States export of liquefied gases which should be carried on vessels manned by U.S. citizens, on vessels either partially or totally constructed in U.S. shipyards, depending on availability of technology for gas containment systems. An established transition period should be allowed for use of foreign technology until domestically-developed systems can be designed and implemented. 3. Reduce Impediments to the Free Market. A rational and sensible maritime policy should provide any ship-owner registering or enrolling ships in the United States under its laws the liberties to pursue their own economic interests, independent of shipyard building requirements. Policy should provide any ship-owner registering ships in the United States meaningful tariff reduction or deferral, coordinated with a reformed taxation regime for the shipping industry for the purchase of ships built outside the United States. Policy should provide expanded government guarantees for shipbuilding in the United States for financially qualified and approved United States ship-owners registering ships in the United States and engaging in the foreign trade, and for ship-owners enrolling ships in the cabotage trades and for ship-owners registering ships in other trades. Before any such guarantees may be awarded the applicant ship-owning entity should provide an assessment and determination of the financial strengths of the applicant by a party that is independent of the entity and its auditors and financiers 4. Increase Employment Opportunities. All maritime policies should create comprehensive and integrated employment opportunities by law, maximizing the economic employment of United States citizens and resident aliens in the maritime industry, consistent with the expansion of the foreign trade fleet, domestic fleets and other fleets and for publicly-owned vessels where needed. All employment opportunities must be consistent with national defense and security needs. Policy should require insofar as practicable that credentialed officers in the foreign trades to be United States citizens or resident aliens and credentialed officers and credentialed ratings in the domestic and cabotage trades and other trades to be United States citizens or resident aliens. Exceptions or waivers would be determined as described in Paragraph 8. A transition period should be included as reformed training and credentialing policies are put in place to ensure a supply of maritime employees meeting those standards and prior to a policy that no exceptions or waivers be granted. . Policy should require the development of the U.S. Marine Highway System in the cabotage trade in order to (1) stimulate the entire industry including shipbuilding and vessel manning and operation; (2) relieve traffic congestion on major coastal interstate highways; (3) reduce maintenance costs on coastal interstate highways; (4) reduce emission gases nationwide; (5) provide alternatives to north-south land routes experiencing a shortage of willing drivers; and (6) provide a method to recapitalize the current U.S. Ready Reserve Force fleet with a modern dual use fleet of active commercial tonnage and actively sailing mariners. The policy should also (7) establish incentives to encourage large retailers and shippers to partner in developing and using such a system of transportation. 5. Reform the Maritime Tax Regime. A modern and rational maritime policy should require a reformed taxation regime for United States ship-owners to be consistent with international practices and a reformation of taxation policy for United States citizens and resident alien mariners in the foreign trade to be consistent with other United States citizens employed as ex-patriots. Such reform is necessary and fair in any maritime policy. 6. Strengthen Cabotage and Open New Registries. A sensible and prudent maritime policy should reform and strengthen cabotage laws, clarifying and reinforcing the legal concept of cabotage, which is an important component of United States national security. A prudent ,maritime policy should establish a new registry for near-foreign and United States possessions and territories, but not sovereign states in voluntary affiliation with the United States. Such a register should provide ships listed in it preference for cargoes originating in the United States or when servicing US naval vessels as extraterritorial possessions. Ships in the register should require manning by all United States officers and ratings as an enhancement to national security. A competitive Maritime policy should establish a bare-boat charter registry for ships in the foreign and US possessions and territories registry where ships can enter and leave the registry easily, if meeting safety requirements, with low costs and no penalizations and having all United States officers and ratings as an enhancement to national security. 7. Rebuild the Marine Infrastructure. A fiscally sound maritime policy should reform the taxation regime for incoming cargo and port and harbor infrastructure and establish trust funds related to the purposes of such taxes. In the case of waterways, ports and harbors, policy should isolate those funds and expend them regularly to maintain and improve the ports and harbors infrastructure essential to currently and future trading of large ships (such as Super Post- Panamax vessels), in current or new maritime trades and provide increased employment opportunities for United States dredging companies and ports and in the fleets in the domestic and foreign and other trades under United States registry. The proper policy should require any contracts let and paid for by these funds to be only to entities registered in the United States and meaningfully controlled by United States citizens. 8. Coordinate the Stakeholders. A necessary maritime policy is the establishment of The Office of the independent National Maritime Transportation Coordinator, which would (1) deal with the disparate needs and requirements of the stakeholders in the maritime industry; (2) make more efficient communications among the stakeholders; (3) mediate disputes presented voluntarily among or between commercial stakeholders; (4) and determine interagency disputes in consultation with other industry stakeholders; and (5) other similar duties. The purpose of the establishment of this office is the efficient operation and reform of the marine transportation system and to make decisions regarding the application of certain laws. Specifically, the policy should require that entities enjoying the privileges of registering or enrolling vessels in the United States be meaningfully controlled by United States citizens as necessary for national security and the necessity and convenience of the public as determined by the Coordinator after appropriate consultation with the stakeholders and following the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act. Further rationalization would remove authority for cabotage waivers from the Maritime Administration and give those powers to the Coordinator. Policy should require agencies in disputes regarding maritime transportation and related matters with other agencies to submit such disputes to the Coordinator for decisions based on national need, economic need and appropriate governance. 9. Rationalize and Remediate Federal Agency Organization. An intelligent, efficient and correct policy should be designed to integrate and improve the usefulness of federal agencies that regulate US foreign and domestic maritime trades, entities and labor. It would also increase coordination with the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security. This should be done by transferring the Coast Guard functions of maritime safety and mariner credentialing and qualifying to the Maritime Administration within the Department of Transportation, including the adjudication of credentialing cases. A clear, obvious and necessary remedial policy to enhance national security in the maritime industry and to remove redundancies of cost, effort and effectiveness, is the removal of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program from the Transportation Security Agency as it relates to mariners and port and harbor workers. The TWIC program should be integrated with Coast Guard programs under exclusively Coast Guard management. The Coast Guard has the experience, expertise and knowledge substantively greater than the Transportation Security Administration as to the maritime industry and has performed, and performs, the same or similar functions as the Credential program and is capable of facilitating the purpose of the program within the maritime industry with greater effect to rational and effective maritime security than the current agency manager. . 10. Provide for Research and Development and Training. An enlightened maritime policy should coordinate and establish research funds administered through the Maritime Administration and made available to all public and private and organized labor training facilities. The purpose would be to develop technologies for training mariners, establish clear career paths in all segments of the industry, especially in the petroleum industry, and meet national security and defense needs. Policy should be designed to integrate the needs and requirements of the maritime degree-granting institutions and fund them appropriately and adequately to meet national shipping needs. Such an enlightened policy should establish the United States Maritime Institute to fund research and development of maritime matters as an independent body administered by the Maritime Administration but under the direction of a board of comprising members. Comprising members should be drawn from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce, Transportation, Interior and selected independent agencies and foreign and domestic academic institutions along with United States ship-owning and shipyard and labor and ports entities and non-governmental organizations. Policy should remove the International Maritime Organization functions of the U.S. Coast Guard to the Maritime Administration to free the Coast Guard to perform more efficiently its domestic functions under the Department of Homeland Security as a law enforcement agency. The Maritime Administration would then function as a civil agency.

As an O&M Intructor and provider of services for the blind and visually impaired, the following issues for pedestrian safety surface on an on-going basis: (1) motorists do not yield to a pedestrian who have a travel or identification cane when in a crosswalk (2) pedestrian controls are not monitored for efficiency and workability; this is a danger to the visually impaired and blind who depend on this technology for traffic control and independence Thank you.

I am an ex employee of the DOT. There are some major problems with the draft that I see after a cursory view. These are similar to problems with previous such products. 1. The issues are too broad and too unfocused to actually be 'strategic'. 2. There is no way to determine priorities among the various objectives. 3. There is no acknowledgement that some objectives are in conflict, or at least in tension, with other objectives. 4. The draft plan uses words which are ambiguous, e.g., 'liveable', 'sustainable'. 5. Some of the performance measure are similarly ambiguous, e.g., the measure for asset management is having partnerships.

Trails, bikeways, and pedestrian facilities are crucial to the betterment of our communities. Increase funding! Portland went from just over 1% bike mode share in 1990 to almost 7% in 2010 for the equivalent cost of one mile of urban freeway. Sound like value?

Dear Sec. Foxx: Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the USDOT Stragegic Plan. My concerns are many but I will limit my comments to two areas: 1. Mass Transit and Diminishing Petroleum Supplies: As your strategic plan points out, America's dependence upon the automobile comes at a high price. While I am certain that most Americans consider their cars sacred extensions of themselves evidence strongly suggests that petroleum costs are increasing, carbon costs are increasing, and the era of suburban sprawl has met its greatest extent of expansion. Now is the time to begin planning for a future with rapidly decreasing petroleum per capita and the urgent need to keep America connected via affordable, reliable mass transit. 2. The Liveable communities of the future will require roads, paths, and trails that allow people to stay connected and healthy. I serve as president of the North Shore Nordic Club in Bigfork, Montana, and our Nordic ski trails serve the entire Flathead Valley over the winter season. We value the partnership we have with the Recreational Trails Grants program administered through the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks rec trails program. We think this program serves the public well by providing recreational opportunities near our homes. I hope you will ensure that Trails dollars remain a part of the USDOT strategic planning. Thank you again for the opportunity to comment. Sincerely, Dave Hadden