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The men and women who assist motorists on our roads perform an extraordinary service. Most of us rarely think of them, but when our vehicle breaks down or a crash occurs, we rely on police and fire departments, emergency medical providers, and towing companies.

But investigating and clearing traffic incidents is dangerous and complicated work.  The number of responder deaths, injuries, and near misses makes that all too clear. That's why the Federal Highway Administration is working to mitigate those dangers and prevent harm to our responders.

And today, we've gathered Traffic Incident Management (TIM) leaders from across the country for a summit where they can share their experiences and ideas for increased responder safety...

Photo montage of traffic incident management

Continue Reading Safety and Traffic Incident ››
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Those who read Friday's Fast Lane post will recall my challenge to America's mayors to help us help them raise the bar for bicyclist and pedestrian safety.  I went back to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting the very next day to secure more support from our mayors --this time for our long-term transportation bill, the GROW AMERICA Act

Continue Reading We need America's ››
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If you're a regular reader of the Fast Lane, you might recall our December post when we reported that the number of people killed on our roads has declined nearly 25 percent since 2004 and that America's highway fatality rate --1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled-- was at it lowest point ever.

Unfortunately, in the five years from 2009 to 2013, bicyclist deaths were up 15 percent and pedestrian deaths are up 16 percent. In 2013, more than 5,000 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed, and more than 100,000 were injured.

Most of those deaths and injuries happened in urban areas, so yesterday, when I spoke to the men and women gathered in Washington, DC, for the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, I issued a challenge to those elected officials to help us help them make America's streets safer...

Photo of Secretary Foxx

Continue Reading My challenge to mayors: Are ››
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It's always good to hear confirmation that the data supports your case. And in the case of automotive technology and government oversight, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has completed a crunch of 52 years of data, from 1960 to 2012. The conclusion? Over the last half-century, the technologies that improve safety --and the regulatory standards that ensure those technologies are in our nation's cars-- have saved 614,000 lives.

That's more than the entire population of Oklahoma City, and it proves that NHTSA's rules and oversight have helped make Americans safer on our nation's roads.

And today, we're taking another step to bring us closer to a future where crash deaths are a thing of the past, NHTSA's plan to add Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)to its list of Recommended Advanced Technology Features under the New Car Assessment Program...

Photo of Secretary Foxx at Washington D.C. Auto Show

Continue Reading Data crunch shows ››
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In one of the most powerful lines of his 2015 State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama said, “If you want somebody who’s going to get the job done –and done right— hire a veteran.”

With veterans accounting for more than a quarter of our workforce here at DOT, we’re already familiar with our returning troops’ strong professional skills and work ethic.  But, that doesn’t mean we’re not taking the President’s message to heart.

Helping our nation’s veterans transition to civilian careers remains a top priority for DOT and for America’s transportation industry.  And this morning, I joined the First and Second Ladies of the United States at the Joining Forces Forum on Veterans Hiring in Transportation to keep the ball rolling on this issue and renew the call to connect veterans with promising careers supporting our nation’s transportation...

Photo of First Lady and Second Lady

Continue Reading Joining Forces to Connect ››
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The economic news from President Obama's State of the Union address last night is good: "Our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999."

In fact, over the past five years, American businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs. That 58-month streak of job creation is the longest on record, and since 2010, we have put more people back to work than all of the advanced economies of the world combined. The economic growth reported for the 3rd quarter of 2014? The strongest in more than a decade. And our federal deficit? Cut by two-thirds.

As the President said, "The verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works."

Good news indeed, but no one at DOT is confusing that good news as a sign that we can afford to rest. Because we cannot; we can't rest on transportation, and we can't rest on opportunity. As President Obama pointed out, "No one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future. But we do know we want them here in America..."

Chart showing job creation over past 58 months

Continue Reading Our path to the future ››
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Lately, President Obama has hinted at the shape of things to come, saying, "Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter." And he is not talking about the Seattle Seahawks.

Tonight at 9pm (ET), the Nation will learn exactly what he has in mind when the President delivers his sixth State of the Union address to both houses of Congress, his Cabinet, and an audience of millions of Americans.

This is a terrific opportunity to hear the President assert his priorities for the coming year. So, many of us at DOT are looking forward to tuning in tonight and hearing what President Obama has to say.

And if you have an interest in transportation, and the future of our country, we encourage you to tune in as well...

Pull quote from President Obama: Interesting stuff happens in  the fourth quarter

Continue Reading Tonight at 9 (ET): the 2015 ››
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This Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, DOT hosted a screening of the movie Selma for Horton’s Kids. They’re a group of local students that DOT folks mentor and tutor every week. And yesterday, before they walked into the theater, I had a chance to chat with them about the film they were going to watch, about Dr. King, and about the legacy of the brave civil rights advocates who marched over that bridge in Selma and across the country.

When I arrived to meet the kids, they were still sitting on the bus that had taken them to the theater.  I told them that they weren’t much younger than the young men and women that rode other buses on the Freedom Rides. Nor were they much younger than some of the people who refused to ride the bus in Montgomery during the boycott of 1955-56.

My point was: We tend to think of the civil rights heroes as just that –heroes, figures immortalized in monuments. But we also have to remember that before they were cast in stone and written into history, they were just people. In many cases, just at the dawn of their adulthood. They displayed the courage to stand up for justice and the discipline to do so with a purpose.

Photo of Secretary Foxx with group from Horton's Kids

Continue Reading Talking with Horton's ››
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Last July, President Obama announced the Build America Investment Initiative, an Administration-wide effort aimed at boosting private investment in our nation’s infrastructure.  And on Friday, Vice President Biden announced new steps that federal agencies are taking to bring private sector capital and expertise to bear on improving our nation’s roads, bridges, and broadband networks. 

You can read more about Friday’s announcement here.  These actions and announcements are the first steps that the Administration is taking as part of the Build America Investment Initiative’s two-year action plan.

These steps highlight important progress within DOT. When the President announced this initiative last July, he also called on this Department to launch the Build America Transportation Investment Center.  And over the past six months, DOT, the Department of Treasury, and more than a dozen other federal agencies have worked to stand up this crucial team, which serves as a one-stop shop for investors seeking innovative financing strategies for infrastructure projects. The Center focuses on facilitating access to USDOT credit programs and helping project sponsors improve project development and delivery. After all, the more projects can move toward completion, the better we can address the Nation’s growing infrastructure deficit...

Photo of highway bridge construction work

Continue Reading Administration uses ››
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Today, DOT fined Southwest Airlines $1.6 million for violating rules regarding lengthy tarmac delays and ordered Southwest to cease and desist from further violations. This is the largest civil penalty the Department has assessed for tarmac delay violations.

On January 2, 2014 --and extending into January 3-- Southwest failed to give passengers on 16 different aircraft at Chicago's Midway International Airport an opportunity to deplane within three hours of arrival. The airline also failed to have sufficient staff available to implement its Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan...

Photo of Southwest planes on tarmac at Midway; credit NBC Chicago

Continue Reading DOT hands Southwest largest ››
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