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A short-term patch is not a long-term solution; join my National Town Hall Meeting and let’s build something together

A short-term patch is not a long-term solution; join my National Town Hall Meeting and let’s build something together

Last week – just hours before we were scheduled to begin cutting transportation funding to states – Congress found a way to postpone the immediate crisis, and extend transportation funding ten more months, until next May.

While we at DOT are glad to avoid those painful cuts, we –along with thousands of commuters, construction workers, freight shippers and manufacturers– know that it’s still not the long-term solution that America’s transportation system really needs.

Photo collage of different modes of transportation

In fact, it's the 28th Band-Aid Congress has passed in the last six years. And the cumulative effect of these short-term measures is crushing our ability to keep up with the pressures on our national transportation system.  The truth is, Band-Aids can’t fill all the potholes and cracked pavement in your community’s roads, and they certainly can’t build new bridges, upgrade rail track, or replace aging buses.

It's not for lack of trying. We sent a forward-leaning, long term bill --GROW AMERICA-- to Capitol Hill, a bill that was fully paid for. I wore out some shoes talking to Members of Congress, to Mayors, to Governors. I spoke to different groups. I blogged, and tweeted, and posted on Facebook.

I even toured the country by bus – from Columbus, Ohio to Dallas, Texas through Nashville and Birmingham and other cities – to stress the importance of passing a long-term fix.

Photo of President Obama at New New York Bridge construction site

President Obama also made infrastructure a centerpiece of his economic agenda. The President rallied Americans in Minneapolis, New York, and right here in Washington, DC, at the Key Bridge. Vice President Biden traveled to Cleveland and took to the White House Whiteboard to explain how important it is to our future to invest in our infrastructure today.

But while Congress avoided one crisis, the one we’re now facing at the end of May is even bigger. Which means we should be working to fix it now.

If you agree, then I want you to join me this Wednesday, August 6, at 1:00pm Eastern time for my GROW AMERICA National Town Hall.

Photo of Secretary Foxx visiting bridge site in Delaware

During this discussion, I'll talk about why you're stuck in traffic, why you're waiting for that train or bus, and what we can do about it.

Although our transportation problems are easy to see, they're not always easy to understand. We have flashing signs that can warn you about traffic ahead, but those signs don't tell you why rush hour seems to get longer and longer or how you can change it. This call will be just the start of our work to convince Congress to pass a long-term transportation solution like GROW AMERICA, now instead of waiting until May.

We're streaming the Town Hall live on the web, but you can already submit questions for me right now via Twitter --using the hashtag #InvestNow-- or by sending an email to publicengagement@dot.gov.

But be ready: I'm looking to whip up support for a long-term transportation solution. A transportation solution that doesn't leave future generations hanging by taking the easy way out. A transportation solution that provides State DOTs, transit agencies, planners, and communities the certainty they need to look ahead more than a few months. A transportation solution that invests today --in roads, in rail, and in transit-- so America will be ready for tomorrow.

If you think that's the kind of path we should go down --and, if you're ready to respond to my call-to-action to help steer this country down it-- then join me this Wednesday at www.dot.gov/townhall, and we'll see what we can do together.

I'm looking forward to it--
--AF

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Comments

The problems about the traffic that people encounter in America cannot be saved or remedied with band-aids that will soon be removed. Instead, the government and its people must look for a solution which will be effective not only today, but also in the future.

We are poised on the cusp of a chance to completely overhaul and improve our national transportation system. Only high speed rail allows the chance to get people to and from intercity destinations affordably and efficiently. Anyone who has driven through any metropolitan area knows that the automobile simply clogs up the pathway to everywhere, causing pollution from exhaust, stress from frayed nerves, and monstrous delays. Inter-connectivity is what made the internet successful. A similar result would affect all our transportation systems, shifting our priorities to efficient, safe and non polluting options.

You have taken bus trips across the county, now travel on some of Amtrak's long distance routes and talk to travelers on why they have chosen this mode of transportation and what they think would improve the service.

We need to start building roadways that are more sturdy to handle the amount of traffic they have crossing them on a daily basis, I would suggest we start looking towards the autobahn for some of these answers, how to fund it?? That's easy, quit taking the large highway taxes that trucking companies are paying to fund the welfare system, take these men and woman that want to make welfare a career choice and make them earn it, while your at it start using prisoners as well for labors, the rail system pays high taxes as well, use the tax money for its true purpose and quit funding the other nonsense with it. This is just my remark as a concerned truck driver of 18 years in the seat. Good luck on your fix it

I live in Columbus 15th largest city in the US and I don't have access to AMTRACK. The reason is that the republican Ohio legislature denied federal funding of about $440 million to construct a line between Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. I want transportation alternatives and I don't like flying. I have talked to my legislator and to the Ohio legislature but no results. Can you help?

Why is it that we only have one electrified rail corridor in the country? Why have none of the other corridors (Chicago Hub, LA to San Diego). It is ridiculous that we are so far behind with rail technology.

The answer is simple, more funding. Increase the federal gas tax. Six cents per year over 3 years, yes double it! The states than would increase their share for the match, problem solved! If the President supported it, it would happen!

More Trains, Less Traffic - Independent Green Party of Fredericksburg, Virginia

Mr. Secretary, This is a great initiative, and I hope it will be successful in reaching the users of the nation's transportation infrastructure, not just those like me who are the "experts" in the transportation industry. My fear is that we have spent too much time and too many resources talking to each other about the state of our affairs, but too little time helping the users of the infrastructure understand and appreciate the plight they face. As a volunteer leader of one of the U.S. Chambers transportation committees said of his trucking company and the state of the nation's infrastructure, we just cope with it. so my question is what is the commitment of this administration to put in place a high level, high priority effort to ensure that the president's priority to evolve the nation's passenger rail service. In 2009 the president said he wanted "high-speed rail service available for 80 percent of the nation's population within 25 years. Will the administration put in place the foundation that will ensure that the president's aspiration is achieved?

We need a modern transportation system.It is time to fully fund Amtrak and develop key high speed passenger rail corridors. Cities with pupil transit and commuter rail like NYC ,Toronto, Philadelphia DC Portland OR, Cleveland have an advantage over car dependent cities like Columbus OH. We cannot just keep expunging highways. Getting through Chicago by car is a mess. Lets get a comprehensive transportation Act for the 21st Century.