New editions of the State Legislative Tracker and The Policy Tracker available now!

U.S. Department of Transportation

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Department of Transportation
Secretary:Anthony Foxx
Deputy Secretary:John D. Porcari
Annual budget:$122.5 billion (2012)
Total employed:57,703 (2012)
Year created:1966
Official website:


Executive Departments of the United States

Executive Departments
Department of DefenseDepartment of StateDepartment of Homeland SecurityDepartment of JusticeDepartment of CommerceDepartment of EducationDepartment of the TreasuryDepartment of AgricultureDepartment of EnergyDepartment of LaborDepartment of TransportationDepartment of the InteriorDepartment of Health and Human ServicesDepartment of Veterans AffairsDepartment of Housing and Urban Development

Department Secretaries
Ashton CarterJohn KerryJeh JohnsonEric HolderPenny PritzkerArne DuncanJack LewTom VilsackErnest MonizTom PerezAnthony FoxxSally JewellSylvia Mathews BurwellRobert McDonaldJulian Castro
The Department of Transportation is a United States executive department established in 1966. The department was formed to ensure "a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people."[1] The department is led by the current secretary of transportation, Anthony Foxx.

The department employs 57,703 employees. The operating budget for fiscal year 2012 was $122.5 billion. Among the agencies run by the department are the: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Transportation Administration (FTA), Federal Highway Administration (FHA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration (FHTSA), the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and more.[2]


The Transportation Department was formed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966. Like the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Transportation Department has its roots based on the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Upon its formation, the department inherited agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration and gained regulatory power over recent federally constructed roadways and railway programs.[3] The following is a list of important dates throughout the history of the department:[4]

  • 1966: Department of Transportation formed by Public Law 89-670
  • 1966: Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMTA) formed
  • 1967: Department of Transportation officially operational
  • 1968: Federal motor vehicle standards come into effect
  • 1970: Amtrak formed
  • 1976: Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act passed, allowing "free zones" where railroads can raise and lower fares without federal review
  • 1977: Mandates on automatic seatbelts or air bags reinstated starting in 1984
  • 1981: 12,000 air traffic controllers go on strike; approximately 11,000 fired by President Reagan
  • 1990: Smoking prohibited on domestic flights lasting fewer than six hours
  • 1990: National System of Interstate and Defense Highways redesignated the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways
  • 2002: Transportation Security Administration formed then transferred to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • 2007: Interstate 35 bridge across the Mississippi River collapsed



The Department of Transportation website states the mission:

Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.[5]

—Transportation Department[1]


The current secretary of transportation is Anthony Foxx.

Note: Votes marked "N/A" represent voice votes or unrecorded votes. Missing votes will be added as they are researched.


Office of the Secretary of Transportation

According to the department's official website, the Office of the Secretary:[6]

  • Oversees national transportation policies
  • Negotiates and implements international transportation policies
  • Regulates United States airlines
  • Issues preventative regulations in transportation policy in regard to drug and alcohol abuse.


Obama administration

30-year transportation outlook

Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the development of a 30-year transportation outlook by DOT officials on September 7, 2014, in an effort to distance the country from the Highway Trust Fund, which gave federal fuel taxation money to state transportation departments for highway construction and maintenance. Foxx said, "We’re having the wrong conversation about transportation in this country. There are a host of factors that are colliding, that are changing the ground underneath us. But yet our policies, not to mention our funding, aren’t keeping up. I think it’s very important for us to have a new reset." He explained further, the goal of the research, "My hope is that people will take a look at this, and some of the unexamined assumptions we’ve had about transportation in the last couple of decades will start to be examined, and policymakers hopefully will understand we can’t just concern ourselves with the funding side of the equation, that how that funding is actually deployed is a key piece of how we move forward."[7]

TIGER grants

On September 12, 2014, the DOT awarded grants for the completions of 72 infrastructure projects across the country for a total of $600 million. The projects covered 46 states and Washington, D.C.. Secretary Foxx stated that the program, passed by Congress in 2009, would have offered more had members agreed to a new highway bill. He claimed, "For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away — projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support."[8]


Obama administration

Crude oil lawsuit

Green energy groups Sierra Club, ForestEthics and Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on September 11, 2014, against the Department of Transportation over the department's use of older rail cars to transport crude oil around the country. The groups filed a legal petition in July 2014, in an attempt to get the department's attention, but no action was taken, resulting in the lawsuit. The department changed rules, forcing companies to switch to newer rail models, but the rules allow three to six years before full implementation, a timeline that the groups found unacceptable. An Earthjustice attorney stated, "The Department of Transportation agrees these tank cars create an unacceptable public risk and need to be banned for shipping Bakken crude oil. But the department proposes to expose the public to these unacceptable risks for four more years. We can’t run the risk of another disaster like Lac-Mégantic, Quebec when 47 people died in a DOT-111 crude oil explosion.[9]


The Department of Transportation had a budget of $122.5 billion for the fiscal year 2012. The Department's request for fiscal year 2013 was $74.4 billion, a 39.3% decrease. The 2012 budget included $50 billion for infrastructure repairs that was not included in the 2011 or 2013 budgets.[2]


The Best Places to work in the Federal Government is a website that tracks workforce trends in federal agencies. According to their analysis, from 2008-2012, the Department of Transportation has lost an average of 896 jobs per year.[10]


Secretary Ray LaHood stated on February 22, 2013, that the department needed to cut nearly $1 billion which would include furloughs for all FAA employees amounting to one day per pay period.[11]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term U.S. + Department + Transportation

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

U.S. Department of Transportation News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links