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It's no secret to Fast Lane readers that the GROW AMERICA proposal I sent to Congress earlier this spring has a number of elements that will improve the way our transportation system helps people and freight get where they need to go safely and efficiently. I'm also happy to share that GROW AMERICA has a number of features that would improve the environmental sustainability of American transportation.

This makes GROW AMERICA a very good fit with the Obama Administration's significant ongoing efforts to #ActOnClimate--including last week's report, “An All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy as a Path to Sustainable Economic Growth,” and yesterday's proposed rulemaking to cut carbon pollution from power plants.

The GROW AMERICA Act protects the environment, helps cut carbon pollution by increasing the efficiency of the transportation system and encourages transportation choices that ease congestion on our highways and improves the quality of life in our communities...

Photo of California road congestion

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In 2009, we made a special commitment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), that we would take the steps needed to restore the Academy in Kings Point, NY, to its rightful place as a jewel among the nation’s service academies. And last Friday, we celebrated one of the results of that commitment--a newly reconstructed Mallory Pier.

If we are going to ask our USMMA graduates to serve their country with distinction, it's only appropriate that we should provide them the tools and resources to prepare them for that effort. America deserves first-rate mariners, and Kings Point attracts first-rate students who give a hundred and ten percent every day. They deserve first-rate facilities to prepare them for service, including a modern waterfront.

With the 2012 addition of a state-of-the-art training vessel, the T/V Kings Pointer, and now a new Mallory Pier, DOT has made that waterfront a reality...

Photo of Victor Mendez with Midshipman Erin Hofstetter, First Class and Rear Admiral James Helis.
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By the time this weekend is over and we meet again here in the Fast Lane on Monday, we'll have entered the summer months in earnest. That means it's time to think about summer driving, a season of weekend getaways and weeklong family road trips.

While we at DOT are working hard throughout the year to make sure Americans have safe roadways and safe vehicles to get where they're going, there's a lot you can do to make your summer driving a safe and smooth experience--for you and your passengers. And with you and your loved ones in mind, the folks at our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have prepared a handy set of Summer Driving Tips to help you stack the safety deck in your favor...

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With Memorial Day weekend behind us and commencement season in full swing across the country, many Americans are thinking about summer travel. And for some of us, that means booking a bus ticket or chartering a trip with one of our nation's 4,000 motorcoach carriers. If you do choose to take a bus or go on a chartered tour, yours will be one of about 700 million passenger trips taken this year in the United States and Canada.

Riding one of the nearly 40,000 motorcoaches in our country is one of the safest ways to travel, and our Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is working hard to make it even safer through effective regulations, increased inspections, more thorough investigations, and by putting a powerful safety tool in your hands, the SaferBus app.

SaferBus, available for Android and Apple devices, gives you free, immediate access to a motorcoach company's safety record...

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As many Fast Lane readers know, May is --among other things-- Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. Earlier here in the Fast Lane, we blogged about efforts to teach teen drivers how to share the road safely with commercial trucks and buses. But May is also National Bike Month, and we want to make sure that those riding bicycles stay safe.

The fact is, there are more and more bicyclists on America's roads these days. We think that's a good thing for the health and pocketbooks of riders and for local air quality and businesses. But at the same time, we've seen an increase in the number of bicyclists killed in crashes, so we've got a lot of bike safety work ahead.

Fortunately, we get a lot of help from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and safety organizations around the country. They have worked to educate drivers and bicyclists about appropriate safety measures...

Bike month logo

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In the past few years, Americans have enjoyed more and more information at our fingertips, available any time and accessible anywhere.

Transportation has not been exempt from this phenomenon. The availability of useful information can improve our morning commutes to work or school and make our lives easier. And recently, the San Diego region launched an advanced 5-1-1 app that can provide this information and more through a groundbreaking integrated corridor management (ICM) initiative funded by DOT.

The ICM program seeks to help travelers get the most out of our existing transportation infrastructure through technology and relieve congestion without having to build additional infrastructure...

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This May, DOT marks the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month by recognizing the contributions this community has and continues to make to the nation’s transportation system. 

We join the Department of Labor in recognizing the historic contribution and sacrifice made by the Chinese Railroad Workers, without whom the construction of the transcontinental railroad from 1865 to 1869 would not have been possible. As Acting Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez said at DOT's AAPI Heritage Month Celebration, “Had it not been for 12,000 Chinese laborers –workers who faced prejudice and low wages, and who in some cases lost their lives– this great experiment might never have succeeded.”

Photo of DOT's A.A.P.I. celebration

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Each Memorial Day, Americans gather to pay tribute to those who have been lost serving our nation. As part of this year’s observance, I had the honor of escorting two World War II Merchant Marine veterans, VADM Bob Scarborough, USCG (Ret.) and Mr. Jack Krogmann, who presented a wreath at the National World War II Memorial to recognize the service of the U.S. Merchant Marine. 

After meeting these two, I feel compelled to share Jack Krogmann’s story. During World War II, he served as a 3rd Mate in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean while completing his training at the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA).

Mr. Krogmann served on two American vessels that fell victim to enemy submarine attacks...

Photo of Chip Jaenichen with VADM Scarborough and Jack Krogmann

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Memorial Day traditionally marks the start of summer driving season. With millions of Americans taking to the roads, DOT and NHTSA have again launched our “Click It or Ticket” seat belt campaign.

During this period of heightened enforcement and education, we partner with our friends in state and local law enforcement to promote seat belt use for one simple reason: it saves lives.

In fact, since 1975, the simple act of putting on a seat belt has saved more than 300,000 lives. In 2012 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 lives...

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Today, National Maritime Day, we commemorate the courage, service, and sacrifice of the men and women of the United States Merchant Marine, who since the founding of our republic have played crucial roles ensuring our nation’s security and expanding our economy.

Today, the U.S. Merchant Marine continues to serve in support of the Department of Defense —delivering more than 90 percent of the cargo needed to support military operations and reconstruction efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

While America’s merchant mariners remain vital to our national security, at the same time they continue to support our economy. During times of peace, merchant mariners have reliably crewed U.S.-Flag vessels to carry American imports and exports to and from our shores. With more than 75 percent of our international trade goods currently moving by water, merchant mariners are a fundamental facilitator of modern American life...

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