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Environmental Justice adds perspective to Earth Day

Every year on Earth Day, our nation renews its focus on the environment and climate. This year at DOT, we're paying special attention to how transportation decisions have different environmental impacts on different communities. For example, more frequent transit service can mean less exhaust fumes on a neighborhood street. That could lead to better health for those residents. In addition to lower medical costs, better health also means fewer days of school or work missed because of illness, and that translates to better economic opportunity down the line.

As directed by President Obama, DOT's Departmental Office of Civil Rights (DOCR) and our Operating Administrations seek environmental justice, a concept that recognizes the junction between a healthy environment and social justice--for all people. Whether it’s new interstate highway construction, or a major airport project, we have a vested interest in avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects on marginalized populations--to preserve their health today and ensure reliable access to opportunity tomorrow. 

Home of Indy 500 embraces bicyclists, pedestrians

When President Obama and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced funding availability for DOT's 2014 TIGER grants a couple of weeks ago, transportation advocates got pretty excited.

And for all those who asked, "What's a TIGER grant?" the city of Indianapolis has a great answer: DOT's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program fills in a critical funding gap and allows communities to pursue projects that offer a wide range of benefits.

What did Indy do with its $20.5 million 2009 TIGER award? It leveraged it into a $62.5 million mix of public and private funding and created an 8-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail that the New York Times called, "an accessible urban connective tissue."

Photo of busy scene along Indianapolis Cultural Trail

Bicycling to safety

Cities and towns across the country are taking steps to make biking an option for their residents, but we have a responsibility to make sure that it's a safe option, too. Because, even though NHTSA reports national total crash fatalities at record lows, bicyclist and pedestrian deaths have not followed suit.

We won’t stand still at DOT and allow this crisis to build up over time. As I told the enthusiastic bicycling advocates yesterday at the 2014 National Bike Summit, our roads should be safe; they should be easy places to travel, no matter how we’re traveling on them...

Photo of Secretary Foxx at 2014 National Bike Summit

President Obama, DOT Secretary Foxx Announce $600 Million for Sixth Round of TIGER Funding

ST. PAUL – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will join President Barack Obama today to announce that $600 million will be made available to fund transportation projects across the country under a sixth round of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s highly successful Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program. The announcement will be made at the Union Depot in St. Paul, which received $35 million in the first round of TIGER to renovate the facility and restore tracks.  Combined with roughly $480 million in federal funding for the Central Corridor light rail transit line, St. Paul’s Union Depot is proof of the impact that transportation investment can make, leading to job creation, downtown revitalization and economic growth.

In San Antonio, transit to remember

I was in San Antonio, Texas, yesterday, with Mayor Julian Castro, and while I was there I learned that one of the Alamo City's taglines is "Something to Remember." After reviewing the city's cutting edge public transit facilities, I can see several reasons why.

From the Primo Bus Rapid Transit service to the Westside Multimodal Transit Center and the planned streetcar lines, the region's VIA Metropolitan Transit truly offers something to remember.

Photo montage of Primo bus service

Sugar House Streetcar keeps Salt Lake City moving forward

For the first time in half a century, streetcars have returned to Salt Lake City’s historic Sugar House neighborhood.

Even before the new S-Line began operating last week, the project had already done wonders for the city’s bottom line—jump-starting roughly $400 million in economic development that’s completed or underway, including hundreds of new apartments. That’s what transit-oriented development is all about: bringing access to housing, transit, and jobs together in a way that makes sense for how families, young professionals, seniors, and others want to live today.

Poster from Utah Transit featuring S-line streetcar

Oklahoma City transformation continues with help from TIGER

Oklahoma City is enjoying a renaissance that began when our residents chose to invest in the quality of life of our community. Over the past two decades, the people of Oklahoma City have voted to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in cultural amenities, schools and infrastructure designed to revitalize our community and make it a destination of choice for young, creative professionals and the jobs they attract.

These highly educated, highly mobile young people value communities with rich cultural, sports and entertainment offerings , a walkable urban environment, and access to public transportation.

In regard to Oklahoma City’s vision for public transportation, the $13.6 million TIGER grant from the Department of Transportation is a game changer. It’s an opportunity to accelerate our efforts to develop a  comprehensive regional transit system that meets the expectations of our residents and the needs of a 21st Century City.

Artist's rendering of the proposed Santa Fe Depot redesign in Oklahoma City

We began this process in 2005 with the creation of a Fixed Guideways Study, which laid out a blueprint for a 21st Century transit system that includes buses, bus rapid transit and rail-based transit. In 2009, the residents passed a penny sales tax with an expectation that, among other projects, we would build a streetcar system.

TIGER award to Port of Duluth will keep the cargo flowing

Each day at the Maritime Administration we work tirelessly to achieve our mission to foster, promote, and develop the merchant maritime industry of the United States.  Ensuring that our maritime industry continues to thrive is an economic and national security imperative.

So, when the Duluth Seaway Port Authority was selected last week to receive a grant from DOT’s 2013 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) discretionary grant program, I jumped at the chance to visit the Port of Duluth-Superior and make the $10 million grant announcement.

Photo of Chip Jaenichen Making TIGER announcement at Port Duluth


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