It was a great pleasure to co-host the Garrett A. Morgan Sustainable Transportation Competition videoconference yesterday with one of my predecessors from the previous administration, Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.
Beyond occupying the same office, Secretary Mineta and I share the distinction of being odd-men-out as DOT Secretary, he serving as a Democrat in President George W. Bush's cabinet, and I serving as a Republican in President Obama's.
But those kids kept us too busy to compare notes, and I'm so glad they did.
"Each year the MTI sponsors middle school classes for a sustainable transportation study unit. The curriculum is developed by faculty at San José State University, and it includes a class or team project. The students and teachers create a sustainable transportation project based on what they´ve learned."
And yesterday, the teams of students presented those projects.
One of the great things about kids--and I remember this from my own days in the middle school classroom--is they don't calculate political angles. They excel at dreaming up transportation ideas that can really take us places that the adults in their lives may be unwilling to go.
Kids don't think about what limits us; they think about what propels us. And that's why the Garrett A Morgan Sustainable Transportation Competition is so well-targeted.
I'm intrigued by the projects they've submitted this year, including a solar-powered airplane, hydro-electric boat, and self-navigating cars with electromagnets.
And I am encouraged that the transportation field will be as well-served by these young thinkers ten or so years from now as it was by the contest's namesake nearly 100 years ago.
Thank you, Secretary Mineta and the Mineta Transportation Institute, for supporting this program. Thank you to all those who joined the kids on our videoconference. And, most importantly, thank you to the students, whose ideas make me very hopeful about the future of American transportation!