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Sustainability

DOT meeting President's ambitious sustainability goals

As part of the Obama Administration’s ongoing initiative to reduce energy use, pollution, and waste --as well as saving taxpayer dollars!-- in Federal operations, agencies like DOT are required to release annual updates that show significant progress toward aggressive energy and sustainability goals. Last Friday, all Federal agencies did just that, and DOT is proud to say that, under the leadership of Secretary Foxx, we have continued to make significant improvements in our operations, and we now are exceeding many of the goals set by the President in 2009.

It might surprise Fast Lane readers to learn that agency improvements in energy efficiency and reductions in cost and waste can make a big difference, but they do. For example, the 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from Federal facilities since 2008 is the equivalent of permanently taking 1.8 million cars off the road. That's roughly the same number of cars registered in the entire state of Alabama.

At DOT, we've achieved outcomes similar to other agencies, and sometimes even surpassed them. Since 2008, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 29.2 percent exceeding the national federal facilities average...

Photo of green roof atop LEED-certified DOT headquarters

Shipyard grants support jobs, freight, and the environment

Last week in Paducah, Kentucky, I had the opportunity to tour the M/V Donna Rushing. This tug, originally built in 1973, received a top-to-bottom renovation in 2011, making it one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly towboats on U.S. inland waterways.

Photo of the m?V Donna Rushing pushing barges up the Ohio River

While it may look the same as it did when it was first built 40 years ago, this workhorse has been updated with more than one hundred energy-saving and environmentally-friendly components. Two new fuel-efficient engines running on biofuel also double as heaters for the boat’s wheelhouse, galley, and cabins. Environmentally friendly hydraulic oils and lubricants as well as a shift to LED lighting for better illumination and efficiency add to the Donna Rushing's sustainable improvements...

At DOT, every day is Earth Day

Happy Earth Day, everyone! At DOT, we're working every day to better protect our planet – and I know Fast Lane readers are, too. 

America's transportation system accounts for 1/3 of our greenhouse gas emissions, more than 1/2 of our nitrogen oxide emissions, and almost 3/4 of our oil consumption. Greening that system is central to our nation’s efforts to increase sustainability and reduce climate change.

That’s why DOT is so focused on building more efficient, sustainable transportation. We're building marine highways that can cut greenhouse gas emissions; investing in a NextGen air traffic control system to lower aviation fuel consumption; building more capacity in our rail systems, which can be a more sustainable way to move both people and freight; and we’re helping drivers save money and lower their carbon footprint, too...

Photo of woman waiting for a bus

Learning the True Costs of Living in a Community

Relocating can be one of the most exciting and important decisions a family or individual makes. 

When families relocate, they’re choosing more than just a house or apartment: they are also selecting the schools, job opportunities, green spaces and other characteristics that come with that community.   And, at the center of it all is a community’s transportation network because people need to get to work, kids need to get to school, and families need to get to critical services. 

Screenshot of location affordability portal

That’s why, HUD and DOT have launched the Location Affordability Portal, a user-friendly tool that helps consumers calculate the true cost of their combined housing and transportation expenses, helping them make more informed decisions about where to live and work.

DOT's Saint Lawrence Seaway team, certifiably green

Yesterday, President Obama introduced his bold plan to protect our kids’ health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. I'm pleased to say that at DOT, we have been working hard to reduce carbon emissions from transportation and lessen transportation's reliance on oil.

From roadways and aviation to rail, transit, and maritime, that effort has been across all modes and ongoing.

Earlier this month, for example, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) Acting Administrator Craig Middlebrook attended the sixth Green Marine annual Green Tech Conference. Acting Administrator Middlebrook came home with something extra in his suitcase: certification of the SLSDC's environmental stewardship.

Photo of Acting Seaway Administrator Middlebrook accepting certification from Green Marine

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