DOT Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Outlines Transportation Vision Focused on Overcoming Infrastructure Deficit

January 21, 2014

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx last week outlined his top priorities for the Department of Transportation, highlighting America’s infrastructure deficit and identifying ways for the Department to use innovation and improved planning to stretch transportation dollars as effectively and efficiently as possible. Secretary Foxx also discussed his vision for multimodal transportation providing greater economic “ladders of opportunity” to all Americans and reiterated the Department’s commitment to safety.

“If we’re going to tackle our backlog of repairing and rebuilding, then there’s another part of the equation we have to tackle, too – and that’s cost,” Secretary Foxx said.  “But what if we could make that funding equal more projects – and better ones? “

With the Highway Trust Fund set to run out of money as early as August, Secretary Foxx announced that the Department will begin posting monthly on its website exactly how much money the Highway Trust Fund has left, and update that number every month until the fund can sustain itself or until it runs out. While the Department has long provided this figure to Capitol Hill, Secretary Foxx said providing it to the public would increase transparency and accountability.

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Georgia’s First Diverging Diamond Interchange Competes for National Recognition and Scholarship Prize Funds

September 19, 2013

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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently announced the top 10 finalists in the 2013 America’s Transportation Awards competition. This year, 24 states entered a total of 36 projects into the competition in the categories of “Ahead of Schedule,” “Under Budget,” and “Best Use of Innovation.” The 10 finalists received the highest number of overall points during four regional contests, representing each part of the country.

Making the cut for this year’s competition is the Georgia Department of Transportation, which submitted the I-285/Ashford-Dunwoody Road Diverging Diamond project. The submission is being considered for both a grand prize and a people’s choice award, both in the “Ahead of Schedule” category.  Award winning submissions will earn a prize of $10,000, which must be donated by those state DOTs to a charity or scholarship of their choice.

Should GDOT’s submission win, all prize money will be donated to the Georgia DOT Scholarship Award fund, so let’s pull together for this worthy cause! Online voting for the people’s choice award began on September 4th and will continue through Wednesday, Oct. 2. Individuals are welcome to vote up to 10 times per day for their favorite projects. To vote, click here.

Award winners will be announced on Oct. 20 at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Denver.


US DOT Unveils New Tools to Help Communities Keep Pedestrians Safe

August 6, 2013

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced a new set of tools to help communities combat the rising number of pedestrian deaths that have occurred over the last two years. As part of the campaign, the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is making $2 million in pedestrian safety grants available to cities with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths. States have until Aug. 30 to apply for a total of $2 million that can be used for education and enforcement initiatives in 22 focus states and cities (including Atlanta and the state of Georgia) where pedestrian deaths are greater than the national average.

The NHTSA is also partnering with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to launch a comprehensive  website with safety tips and resources for local leaders, city planners, parents and others involved in improving pedestrian safety. This online resource presents pedestrian safety information from the DOT and provides safety tips and resources that communities can use to keep pedestrians safe. These resources include information for parents on teaching children about safe walking, reports on effective pedestrian projects for state highway safety offices and guides for community pedestrian safety advocates.

“Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian,” said Secretary Foxx. “We all have a reason to support pedestrian safety, and now, everyone has new tools to help make a difference.”

For more information, check out NHTSA’s new website with pedestrian safety resources www.nhtsa.gov/everyoneisapedestrian.


Dump the Pump to Save Money & Win Prizes

June 13, 2013

National Dump the Pump week is right around the corner and Georgia Commute Options, MARTA and their partners want YOU to save money, time and stress by giving alternatives to solo driving a try. Head over to Georgia Commute Options and take an online pledge to ride transit between June 17th and 21st.  You could win one of five Amazon $10 gift cards which will be given away in a random drawing each day during Dump the Pump week.

Looking for something more interactive? No problem, MARTA has you covered. The transit agency is sponsoring a Dump the Pump Dash scavenger hunt on Saturday, June 15th from Noon – 4:30 pm starting at the Five Points MARTA Station. Working in teams, participants will have 3 1/2 hours to decipher riddles, find items, and take photos in and around the MARTA service area. Prizes for the top teams include iPad Minis and solar powered charging accessories.

In addition to transit, Dump the Pump week is a great time to explore vanpooling, cycling, walking or telecommuting to see if these options work for you. See GeorgiaCommuteOptions.com for more information.


DOT Announces Proposal to Establish National Freight Network

February 18, 2013

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced the establishment of a National Freight Advisory Committee to provide recommendations aimed at improving the national freight transportation system. A strong freight transportation system is critical to the nation’s economy and essential for helping meet President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.

“Our freight system is the lifeblood of the American economy,” said Secretary LaHood. “We must ensure that our freight system is stronger and better connected.”

The recent transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21, signed by President Obama in July 2012, established a national freight policy and called for the creation of a National Freight Strategic Plan. By engaging stakeholders representing diverse geographic, modal, and policy interests, such as safety, labor and the environment, the Advisory Committee will provide recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation on how DOT can improve its freight transportation policies and programs. The U.S. Department of Transportation is soliciting nominations for members of the National Freight Advisory Committee. Instructions on how to submit nominations will be available in the Federal Register notice which will publish in the coming days.

The collaboration of stakeholders will serve to promote involvement and compliance with proposed plans and performance measures. The effort will support the implementation of larger freight policy initiatives, including the Department’s Freight Policy Council, an internal body of DOT leadership created by Secretary LaHood to facilitate cross-modal implementation of MAP-21 freight provisions. The Advisory Committee will comprise at least 25 voting members from outside of DOT who have various perspectives on freight transportation, including mode, region, policy areas, freight customers and providers, and government entities, and will meet at least three times per year.

DOT also proposed the process through which the DOT will designate a national freight network to better focus attention on the highways most critical to the movement of goods. The Secretary will designate the most critical existing interstates and roads as the primary freight network. This network will consist of up to 27,000 miles of existing interstate and other roadways. It will also include the possible addition of 3,000 miles of existing and planned roadways necessary for the efficient movement of goods in the future.

A comprehensive system is required to meet the growing freight volumes. The Department is requesting comments on the proposed freight network designation process. Instructions on how to submit comments are available in the Federal Register notice available here.


Secretary LaHood Highlights Federal Investment, Partnerships with Georgia

January 30, 2013

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood addressed city officials on Monday, January 28, during the Georgia Municipal Association’s 2013 Mayors’ Day Conference in Atlanta. Secretary LaHood lauded the ongoing partnership between the DOT and Georgia municipalities, noting the importance of ongoing collaboration under the new surface transportation bill. LaHood, who is stepping down from his post this year, summarized Georgia’s recent successes in earning competitively awarded federal transportation funds in his FastLane blog, portions of which have been reposted below.

“Last week, I wrote about the terrific partnership DOT has enjoyed with America’s mayors. Readers might recall that throughout the past four years, DOT has also put a great deal of emphasis on regional partnerships where state, county, and municipal leaders come together for a common purpose.

Well, this morning I had the pleasure of acknowledging mayors and regional partnerships at the Georgia Municipal Association Mayors’ Day Conference in Atlanta.

Because municipal leaders in Georgia have been able to agree on a set of priorities, the Obama Administration has been able to make key investments in the state’s transportation infrastructure. Altogether, DOT has invested nearly $4.5 billion in Georgia’s highways and $865 million in Georgia’s transit systems since 2009.

We started with the Recovery Act, which financed 398 transportation projects in Georgia—rebuilding 28 Georgia bridges and improving almost 1,400 miles of Georgia roads. And we provided $148 million to improve Georgia’s transit systems.

Through our successful TIGER grant program, we provided $47.6 million to build the Downtown Atlanta Streetcar Line—a 2.6 mile streetcar that connects customers to downtown Atlanta businesses. And we invested in street improvements around the State University in Fort Valley—making the area safer for bicyclists and pedestrians while creating a center of economic activity.

Regions nationwide have made a lot of progress over the past four years. Now, the new surface transportation law, MAP-21, provides transportation funding certainty to states through September 2014. And Georgia’s mayors know that they need to continue working together.

America’s communities must sustain their partnerships and build new ones. We need local leaders, industry, and people from across transportation to continue coming together to help us figure out how we meet the needs of today—and the needs of tomorrow—in Georgia and across the nation.”

To read the full post, check out FastLane, the official blog of the DOT Secretary.


North Carolina and Florida Announce Toll Interoperability Agreement; Georgia to Follow

December 22, 2012

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Transportation secretaries Gene Conti (NCDOT) and Ananth Prasad (FDOT) announced earlier this month an agreement on electronic toll collection interoperability. The fundamental elements of the agreement will allow travelers from these states to use each other’s electronic toll collection system without the need to enroll in any new programs or buy a new transponder. “This is an exciting advancement in the toll industry,” said Secretary Prasad.  This represents Florida’s first out-of-state interoperability project.“This is a significant step for motorists along the East Coast Corridor, as North Carolina is a major link in creating interoperability between E-Z Pass states and Florida”, said Secretary Conti. “The Alliance for Toll Interoperability and the I-95 Corridor Coalition played a crucial role in making this step a reality.”

On the heels of this major inter-regional interoperability effort, the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) will join this effort for its Peach Pass customers following Florida and North Carolina’s implementation. “We are thrilled to be a part of a customer-driven solution that will add value for all Peach Pass customers,” says Dr. Gena Evans, Executive Director of SRTA. “It is important for us to continue to seek travel options that accommodate our customers in ways that are reliable and efficient. The ability to pay for tolls with one account in three different southeastern states is a major step forward in achieving that goal.”