I'm really not one for looking back. While revelers are busy preparing to ring out the old year, I'm chomping at the bit to get 2010 underway. But DOT employees have worked hard this year in safety, recovery, livability, and more, and their achievements deserve a shout-out.
First, I want to let readers know how thankful I am to have been invited to join President Obama's Cabinet. This is a terrific honor, and the chance to serve the nation in this capacity is a truly special opportunity.
You may recall that Jon Stewart suggested to me on The Daily Show that being DOT Secretary is "not the most glamorous Cabinet position," but I am here to say that 2009 has been a very rewarding year for me.
Here, then, is my "Top Five for O-Nine"
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: through the most ambitious transportation infrastructure investment program in more than half a century, we approved funding for over 11,300 projects creating tens of thousands of jobs.
- Campaign to end Distracted Driving: from the Distracted Driving Summit to our newly launched Distraction.gov website, we are reining in this deadly practice.
- Air traveler protection: from new safety measures to record fines and new rules covering extended tarmac delays, we have the backs of America's airline consumers.
- Livable Communities Initiative: an interagency partnership that will ensure Americans have safe, reliable, accessible, and affordable transportation to get them where they need to go.
- Car Allowance Rebate System: better known as Cash For Clunkers, within a four-month period, we processed more than $2.8 billion in voucher payments for more than 21,000 automobile dealers who sold nearly 700,000 new, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Now, before joining the Administration, I spent 14 years in the House of Representatives, and nothing I experienced in the House calendar quite prepared me for the full year of activity DOT packed into 2009. It turns out that DOT doesn't have any recesses, and, apparently, adding one is not within the Secretary's authority.
But that's okay because we are absolutely eager to begin chalking up another year of accomplishments in 2010. And tomorrow I'll be previewing DOT plans for the new year, so please stay tuned.
Which reminds me...one of the pleasures of this job that I didn't anticipate has been the opportunity to share DOT news with--and read the comments of--the readers of this blog and our other social media sites. So, thanks to all of you for your support on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.