U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
Remarks at the 93rd Annual Transportation Research Board Chairman’s Luncheon
Washington, DC • January 15, 2014
U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces Grant to Reduce Train Delays and Improve Reliability in Syracuse, NY. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced an $18.5 million grant to reduce passenger and freight train congestion on Amtrak’s Empire Corridor at the Syracuse, NY train station. The grant to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is for the final design and construction of track reconfiguration and replacement and signal system improvements.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued an industry-wide Safety Advisory to help ensure railroads adhere to federal regulations regarding maximum authorized train speed limits. The advisory contains four recommendations to ensure railroads comply with speed restrictions through appropriate operating policies, procedures and effective implementation.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued an Emergency Order (EO 29) to Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCW) to take specific, immediate steps to ensure its train crews do not exceed speed limitations. The EO requires Metro-North to modify its existing signal system to ensure speed limits are obeyed and to provide two qualified railroad employees to operate trains where major speed restrictions are in place until the signal system is updated.
I want to congratulate the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association on 40 years of effective advocacy for road safety, fair treatment of America's truck drivers, and an efficient transportation network. OOIDA has come a long way since its beginnings at a truck stop on I-70. And today, the group is an important partner to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration--particularly on safety issues.
The safety culture that OOIDA has developed among its members has been tremendously important--for commercial drivers, their families, and everyone on our roadways.
In this era of digital access, knowledge is power. And thanks to a new rule NHTSA issued yesterday, effective one year from now, consumers will have online access to the power they need to make sure their vehicle, or one they are considering buying, is safe.
This new rule requires that major automakers and motorcycle manufacturers provide information on uncompleted vehicle safety recalls online. This information will be searchable by the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – free of charge. Consumers will be able to instantly determine whether action is required to address an uncompleted safety recall that affects their personal vehicle, as identified by their unique VIN. Automakers and motorcycle manufacturers will have to update that information at least once a week. NHTSA will also offer the ability to search the industry recall data through our website SaferCar.gov.
There are 2.6 million miles of pipeline crisscrossing our nation, running under our streets and neighborhoods. And underground there are utility lines that deliver most of the energy used to heat, cool, and operate the nation’s homes, cars, and businesses.
That’s why it is so important that everyone from backyard DIY’ers to utility workers to independent contractors always call 8-1-1 before they dig to avoid major disruptions and injuries, and even loss of life.
Our Federal Railroad Administration has helped reduce train accidents by 43 percent over the last decade; their work helped make 2012 the safest year in American rail history. But when safety is your number one priority, there's no resting. Last Friday, the FRA took another step forward in rail safety, issuing an Emergency Order and Safety Advisory to help prevent unattended trains carrying hazardous materials from moving unintentionally.
Friday's announcement was made in response to the tragic July 6 derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. While the full investigation has not yet to concluded, we can't afford to wait to take steps that would help prevent a similar incident from occurring here in the U.S. The American people deserve no less.
Last week, I wrote here in the Fast Lane that we at DOT must work harder than ever before to give the American people what they need when it comes to transportation. And the most important thing the American people are counting on us to deliver is safety.
For generations, Americans have ridden on planes, trains, buses, cars, boats, and bikes—not having to think about whether their chosen mode of transportation is safe or not. They trust that our system will work, and work safely.
The good news is that, over the last four and half years, DOT has already been doing this.