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Working together to solve transportation challenges

Working together to solve transportation challenges

Minnesota's rebuilt I-35 Bridge just one example of what we can accomplish

Photo of Secretary Foxx speaking with new I-35W Bridge in the backgroundNearly six years ago, the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River. Yesterday, I toured the new I-35W crossing--which was rebuilt in little over a year and has become a symbol of what we can achieve when we commit ourselves and work together to meet the challenges facing America's roadways.

By collaborating at the local, state, and federal levels, transportation officials were able to complete the new I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge more than three months ahead of schedule. So, no one appreciates the value of a strong commitment and an effective partnership more than U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, who hosted my visit.

Our nation has grown faster than the capacity of our roadways. Across the country, commuters rushing to work, students heading to class, and moms and dads taking their kids to camps, schools, and day-care centers regularly drive over bridges that are carrying loads far beyond their intended capacity and far beyond their intended lifespan.

Every day, DOT works hard to ensure our bridges are safe. Through our National Bridge Inspection Program, the Federal Highway Administration works with State DOTs to detect bridge issues early and to develop solutions. Under our program, states are required to inspect bridges every two years and report the results to FHWA. Thousands of qualified inspectors evaluate the condition and safety of our nation’s bridges every day.

If a bridge is deemed unsafe, action is taken. Whether that means closing the bridge, making emergency repairs or instituting weight restrictions, we do what’s necessary to keep people safe.

For generations, Americans have climbed into their cars and trucks and never questioned their safety or whether the roads or bridges they rely on will be there when they need them. They trust that our system will work—and work safely. They trust DOT to keep them safe—and we will.

Photo of Senator Klobuchar showing Secretary Foxx the memorial to lives lost in the 2007 collapse of the I-35 W Bridge

But to fulfill this commitment to safety for the next generation, we need to come together to invest in critical transportation projects across the country--projects that not only keep our roads and bridges safe, but also keep our economy moving forward.

President Obama’s Fix It First proposal would immediately invest $50 billion in our nation’s transportation infrastructure, with $40 billion targeting the most urgent upgrades and focused on fixing the highways, bridges, transit systems, and airports most in need of repair.

As a nation, we need to come together--just as we did six years ago in Minneapolis--and make the investments that will keep our infrastructure strong. Because a stronger transportation system means a stronger America for the 21st century.

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

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Comments

Secretary Foxx, While I wholeheartly concur that 35W rebuilt is a great example of coordindation to get things done quickly, I am disappointed by the tone of this post. For one it celebrates a project that should have never happened. It was because of incompetance and inaction that resulted in this tragegy. The blame is squarely on many others but US DOT is in no way immune from it. This tragedy should have been avoided if we invested in our systems, but the solution is not exclusively on the need to fix bridges. It is also the need to look in the rear view mirror and fix internal pieces that kept people safe. Your post misses this important element. I applaude you and DOT for making incredible strides to fix and transform our nation's transportation system. Thank you for your service.