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For Chris Rhoads – FRA’s Inspector of the Year in 2013 – rail safety is more than a profession. It’s a way of life.

“You take on this job to ensure safety for the general public, but also the railroad employees themselves,” says Rhoads, who gladly trains new State and Federal track inspectors and even volunteers with our rail safety education partner Operation Lifesaver.

Based in Pryor, Oklahoma in FRA’s Region 5, Rhoads specializes in inspecting railroad tracks and structures to ensure compliance with Federal regulations. But last May, while on assignment in Arkansas, Rhodes’ commitment to safety took on new meaning when a massive tornado swept through the area and caused massive flooding...

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It’s a privilege to be able to serve military veterans and their families who’ve served all of us so well. Too often, though, it’s difficult and time-consuming for our veterans to find a way to get to the many resources that exist to help them.

That’s why the Obama Administration has worked with states, local governments, and transit agencies across the country to make it easier for them to make use of quality, convenient public transit in their communities. Together, we’re building ladders of opportunity that connect veterans and others to jobs, training, medical care, and the services they need.

Just in the last week, the Community Transportation Association of Idaho launched a new website that makes it easier for Idaho’s more than 140,000 veterans and active duty military personnel – as well as members of the general public – to find an affordable ride in one of the nation’s most rural states...

Phot of a flag displaying a logo for Disabled American Veterans

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On Saturday, a devastating mudslide struck near Oso, Washington, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains along the Stillaguamish River. The slide swept through homes and across state Route 530. Today, our hopes and prayers are with the families and friends of those who died and with those still awaiting word on missing loved ones.

To help Washington state cover the costs of repairing damaged roads in Snohomish County, we have announced the immediate availability of $1 million in emergency relief funds from the Federal Highway Administration...

Photo of debris blocking state Route 530, credit Lindsey Wasson / Reuters
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Although you've read a few spring-themed blog posts here in the past two weeks, at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation we don’t consider spring to have truly arrived until the Navigation Season opens and ships begin moving through the Seaway's locks.

And I'm happy to say that--with last Friday's official Seaway opening ceremony, Monday's opening of the two American locks, and Tuesday's transit of our first vessel--spring has sprung on the U.S.-operated portion of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

Photo of the Charlotte Theresa, first vessel to transit Eisenhower Lock in 2014 season
The vessel Charlotte Theresa, first to transit Eisenhower Lock in the 2014 season.

The Seaway offers our nation an efficient, environmentally sound artery for freight moving into and out of American farms, mines, and manufacturing plants. For American businesses, the Seaway is a unique gateway to global markets.

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Traditionally, one of the first signs of spring is the sight of blooming flowers and buds, but the first day of spring this year brought something special: the blossoming of a promising new road safety partnership among DOT, the International Chiefs of Police Association, and state police and highway patrol officers from more than 40 states.

The Drive To Save Lives is a united effort to reduce highway fatalities by 15 percent in 2014. DOT is proud to join the IACP and law enforcement across the country in this education, awareness, and high-visibility traffic enforcement initiative to change high-risk behaviors that --all too often-- lead to crashes...

I.A.C.P. logo

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The moment we’ve all been waiting for is upon us. Winter is finally going away, the days are getting longer, and soon, we hope, they will be warmer. That means more time outside reviving the lawn and giving our gardens the love they need to spring up in style.

It also means that many of the personal and commercial construction projects on hold during the winter chill will now resume.

These are activities worth getting excited about, but when it comes to digging, we need to temper our enthusiasm with a does of safety sense: Excavation damage remains a leading cause of serious pipeline incidents...

Photo of a damaged pipeline

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Cross-posted from www.whitehouse.gov

A couple of months ago, my nine-year-old daughter came into my office with a list of priorities, things she would do if she had my job as Secretary of Transportation. (Her first priority, by the way, was to move every seat on the plane into first-class.)

Besides being one of those moments that every father wants to have on videotape, it was also a small reminder of what we know at the U.S. Department of Transportation: that there are many young girls who dream of a job in transportation – of learning to fly, for instance, or of becoming an engineer who designs a magnificent bridge.

Supporting these dreams isn’t something we should just do as parents; it’s something we should do as a nation.

Photo collage of Amelia Earhart, Emily Roebling, Elizabeth Dole, and Mary Peters

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After one of the colder, snowier winters in recent memory, spring is no longer just around the corner. Today, it has officially arrived.

The signs are everywhere: March Madness, spring training, school vacations. Gardening enthusiasts are laying the groundwork for planting. Winter's debris is being raked from lawns. And in the transportation business, more and more Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) is being produced and placed as road work gets underway around the country...

Close-up photo of paving drum

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Today, the Department of Justice charged Toyota with defrauding consumers by issuing misleading statements about two safety issues that caused unintended acceleration in some of its vehicles. At the same time, the Department of Justice announced a deferred prosecution agreement with the automaker, under which the company admits that it misled U.S. consumers and pays a $1.2 billion penalty. DOT worked closely with the Department of Justice to help achieve this outcome.

As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, “When car owners get behind the wheel, they have a right to expect that their vehicle is safe.  If any part of the automobile turns out to have safety issues, the car company has a duty to be upfront about them, to fix them quickly, and to immediately tell the truth about the problem and its scope. Toyota violated that basic compact."

I couldn't agree more. And I echo the Attorney General's message that, "Other car companies should not repeat Toyota’s mistake."

Photo of Secretary Foxx and Attorney General Holder, credit Susan Walsh, AP

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The entire U.S.Merchant Marine Academy community is proud of our rich history of service. Since the Academy was established in 1943, Kings Point alumni have served in every overseas conflict and have assisted communities here at home during crises and natural disasters like the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Sandy.

This month, that proud traditions continues as CPT David Taliaferro (USMMA '07) leads 130 soldiers of the New York Army National Guard's 133rd Quartermaster Company during their mobilization and deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom...

Photo of RADM Helis and Cpt. Taliaferro

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