You are here

Rural

FTA Recognizes Five Outstanding Rural Transit Agencies

Public transportation can be a real lifeline. And nowhere is that more apparent than in America’s rural communities. Great distances between homes, workplaces, schools, and vital services --plus the aging of the U.S. population-- present rural residents and the transit agencies that serve them with significant challenges.

Since 1985, the Federal Transit Administration has recognized great work in rural transit by presenting Administrator’s Awards for Outstanding Public Transportation Service in Rural Public Transportation. Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting this year’s awards to five very deserving rural transit systems from across the country. By enhancing mobility and increasing access to employment, these unsung heroes of transportation have done an exceptional job of connecting rural residents to ladders of opportunity...

Photo of NCRTD bus

Local Food, Local Places: a strategy for community economic development

I was honored to join Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the White House today to announce Local Foods, Local Places, an Obama Administration initiative to help communities improve access to fresh, local produce--particularly among disadvantaged groups who lack such access. Investing in regional food economies is an investment in rural America, and DOT couldn't be prouder to take part.

Farmers are some the most self-reliant, self-sufficient people I’ve met in this country. But for all that farmers and farm communities can do on their own –and they can do a lot– we also know there are challenges that require more help. And one of those challenges is making sure that farms have access to good transportation.

Photo of rural road and farm

As JFK explained the economic challenges that rural communities face, saying that, “the farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything retail, sells everything wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.”  

Although JFK said it 54 years ago, it’s still true: freight is a huge concern for rural communities. Transportation determines whether the crop gets to market, and the cost of transportation often determines whether it’s profitable there.

Transit keeps people moving in rural Mississippi

In Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the heart of the Delta, public transportation is a real lifeline. Ridership there and in the seven-county region served by the Delta Area Rural Transit System (DARTS) has grown 40% in the last two years, offering many a connection to jobs, healthcare, and a full life in their community.

That’s why it’s absolutely essential that the buses keep running safely and reliably. And that’s what DARTS and the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center will be able to do now that they've modernized and upgraded their regional maintenance facility, thanks in part to Federal Transit Administration funding...

Photo of DARTS ribbon-cutting

Creating Ladders of Opportunity in Rural America

I started day four of my “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour by participating in a roundtable discussion with Congressman Bennie Thompson and local officials at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi.  It was a great opportunity to hear firsthand about the challenges facing the region and the need to create ladders of opportunity to connect folks to jobs, schools, and a better quality of life.

Photo of Secretary Foxx speaking at the roundtable meeting at Tougaloo College

2013 USDOT TIGER awards help rural communities thrive

Wherever you live--a big city, a small community, wherever--you should have safe, reliable access to jobs, schools, medical care, and stores. And wherever you operate your business--whether that business is a family farm or a manufacturing plant--you should be able to move your goods to the market.

America will be defined as a nation by whether we can connect every citizen --rural or urban-- to the 21st Century economy.

That’s why, when it came time to award DOT's fifth round of TIGER grants, I was proud to announce that nearly half of the projects selected support rural areas of the country--and that's our biggest rural share to date.

Photo of rural road and farm in Winneshiek County, Iowa