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Tucson's Sun Link one more reason to GROW AMERICA

Yesterday, Secretary Foxx wrote about the Washington Metro's new Silver Line that, "connecting thousands of residents and visitors with major employment, education and economic opportunities," is a significant investment in the community's future. And last week, the Federal Transit Administration helped celebrate the launch of another significant investment, Tucson, Arizona’s new Sun Link streetcar service.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. A recent report from Arizona Public Interest Research Group showed that Tucson had a 25% per capita increase in transit ridership over a 5-year period. According to the study, that’s due in large part to population growth in the Sunbelt and an increasing preference for public transit among both seniors and the Millennial generation. All of those factors reflect what we’re seeing nationally: a decline in driving and the highest transit ridership in generations.

Sun Link is a good example of modern streetcar services that are bringing a new transportation option to communities across the country – or in some cases, bringing back an old one...

Photo of Sun Link streetcar moving through downtown Tucson

U.S. Department of Transportation Celebrates Grand Opening of Tucson Streetcar, Further Expanding Regional Transit Choices

Tucson, Ariz. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today celebrated the grand opening of the Sun Link Streetcar line. The new line will significantly improve transit options for thousands of area residents and connect major activity centers in downtown Tucson with health care facilities, the University of Arizona and other regional attractions. FTA Chief Counsel Dorval Carter joined Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and other local officials at a ribbon-cutting event.

TIGER applications demonstrate nationwide need for transportation investment

The deadline for submitting Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2014 grant applications recently passed, and--once again--the applications totaled far more than Congress set aside for these competitive awards. And, I'm not talking about a small difference.

DOT received $9.5 billion in applications for the $600 million available in our TIGER program--that's more than 15 times the amount we can award. The 797 eligible applications we received from 49 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia is also a big jump from the 585 submitted during last year's TIGER process.

These applicants confirm what I saw as I traveled through eight states and 13 cities as part of my Invest in America, Commit to the Future bus tour last month: America is hungry for infrastructure investment. And that's exactly why we sent our GROW AMERICA legislative proposal to Congress two weeks ago.

Photo of rail work near St. Paul's Union Depot

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 opportunity...in 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

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