Read all posts from June 2011

  • Transportation is about a lot more than just getting around.  Our roadways, runways, and railways connect people with all of the things that make life worth living: family, education, job opportunities, and recreation.  That’s why we here at DOT--and the entire Obama Administration--are laser-focused on improving access to transportation for all Americans.

    Last week, I joined the White House monthly disability call with the Special Assistant to President Obama on Disability Policy, Kareem Dale, to discuss with hundreds of stakeholders everything we’re doing at DOT to improve transportation access for people with disabilities.  In the twenty years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, there’s no doubt we’ve made significant strides forward.  But we won’t rest until everyone has equal access to all forms of transportation.

  • Two years ago, on June 1, 2009, General Motors filed for bankruptcy, backed by $30 billion in support from the federal government. The same day, in the same New York courthouse, a judge approved Chrysler’s plan to forge an alliance with Fiat and emerge from bankruptcy as a restructured business with an uncertain future.

    Two years later the American auto industry is mounting a comeback.  

    Today, the White House released a report that highlights the resurgence of the American auto industry.  The report discusses the jobs created in the sector, the turnaround of the companies that are now turning a profit, and how entire communities have been revitalized by a strengthened auto industry. 

    In the year before GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, the auto industry shed over 400,000 jobs.  Had President Obama failed to intervene, conservative estimates suggest that it would have cost at least an additional one million jobs and devastated vast parts of our nation’s industrial heartland.  Since GM and Chrysler Group emerged from bankruptcy in June 2009, the auto industry has added 115,000 jobs – the fastest pace of job growth in the auto industry since 1998.

    Since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in June 2009, they have announced investments totaling over $8 billion in their U.S. facilities, creating or saving nearly 20,000 jobs. Additionally, in the first quarter of 2011, the auto industry reached an important milestone when all three Detroit automakers posted positive quarterly net profits – for the first time since 2004.

    Furthermore, both companies are paying back their loans. Last week Chrysler repaid its outstanding loans to the U.S. Treasury, bringing the total amount taxpayer dollars returned to $10.6 billion – which represents a full recovery on the resources committed by the Obama Administration. 

    As Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in an op-ed in The Washington Post today:

    “What happens next for Chrysler and GM is up to their executives, managers and workers — just as with any other company. We cannot guarantee their success, and at some point they may stumble. But we’ve given them a better shot. The choice to stop the American automobile industry from unraveling was the right one.”

  • This has been cross posted from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security FEMA Blog

    It’s June 1, which means it is the official start of Hurricane season. With hurricane season officially here, we wanted to share a video from Administrator Fugate:

    Watch FEMA Administrator Fugate's full remarks here.

    You can do your part by making sure you and your loved ones are prepared by having an emergency plan and kit. Talk with your friends and neighbors and encourage them to do the same. And you can also take steps to get prepared for a hurricane at your workplace, so talk with your human resources manager about steps you can take.

    Last week was Hurricane Awareness Week and we wrote a series of blog posts to illustrate the importance of being informed about the many hazards of severe tropical weather. Here there are again if you didn’t have a chance to read them:

    Visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes to get prepared and embed our widget on your website to help us get the word out:

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