To say it has been a good ride would be understating it. During the past four years, it has been a series of many, many rides...by plane, train, car, boat, streetcar--you name it--and all of them good.
Now, with my most recent ride to Monday's transit announcement in Montana's Glacier National Park, it's official: As U.S. Secretary of Transportation, I have visited every one of our nation's 50 states. I've also traveled to 211 different cities.
And I have enjoyed every single one.
Photo courtesy Justin Franz, The Flathead Beacon
Because from coast to coast, I've seen hundreds of communities where people are coming together, putting aside their differences, and working to achieve their transportation needs. Cities, towns, and counties are forging more efficient transportation regions. State and local governments are creating alliances with private organizations and businesses. And this DOT is happy to partner with them.
Just last month, for example, I was in Detroit to announce Federal Transit Administration support for the region's M1 streetcar line. This Woodward Avenue line will put residents in touch with thousands of local jobs, education, medical care, and other destinations in the Detroit metro area. It will also help them save money on gas. And it's only happening because a coalition of private-sector philanthropic and business leaders came together--the State of Michigan created a Regional Transportation Authority, and leaders from the city of Detroit and four neighboring counties worked closely with the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments.
And in the Denver region, I've seen a number of different projects that bring together state, county, and local resources to improve the area's roadways, transit, and passenger rail. This work has created jobs, boosted economic development, and positioned Denver area businesses for a more competitive future.
You know, it's not just the different communities or transportation improvements that I appreciate. In many of the places I've visited, I've had the opportunity to meet folks who are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation team, but who do their important work hundreds or thousands of miles away from our Washington, DC, headquarters.
To see the great job these professionals are doing is a powerful reminder that our federal government is far more than an abstract bureaucracy of office buildings.
Your government is at work in hundreds of air traffic control towers guiding you home safely. Your government is at work in the remotest parts of the West inspecting rail infrastructure so our freight gets where it's going. It's at work supporting your drive to work or school in Federal Highway Administration offices in every state. It's at work keeping you safe in DOT research facilities in Ohio, Virginia, and Massachusetts.
You get the point. This Department has boots on the ground across America keeping people and goods moving safely and efficiently. And it has been a true privilege to meet so many of them.
So, on the occasion of having visited all 50 states in this remarkable country, I want to thank everyone on the DOT team nationwide and all of the state, county, municipal, community and business leaders whose commitment to better transportation makes all of our lives better.