I’ve always said that DOT has some of the hardest working, most dedicated professionals in the world. And yesterday, I had the opportunity to honor and thank some of them at DOT’s 44th Annual Secretary's Awards Ceremony.
Day after day, their hard work and heavy lifting ensures that drivers, pilots, and passengers are safe and that roads and bridges are rebuilt while putting people back to work.
In fact, every time I see President Obama, he tells me that he’s proud of the job the DOT team is doing. Their performance, above and beyond the call of duty, makes DOT a real leader in serving the American people.
During the last 12 months, DOT employees have made enormous progress on things like groundbreaking fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, keeping their FAA colleagues on the job, finding a path forward on O’Hare’s expansion, and helping disaster-stricken communities repair their roads.
At the same time, they’ve continued progress on major, long-term initiatives like getting families, friends, and neighbors back to work on transportation job sites across the country and rebuilding America’s roadways, runways, railways, and waterways.
Not to mention they’re also making our communities more sustainable and livable, and developing the most proactive transportation safety agenda in DOT history.
I am grateful to each and every one of them, as well as their families, who have given up evenings and weekends so they could serve the American people.
The TIGER II Implementation Team received a Partnering for Excellence Award for exemplary teamwork, dedication, and innovative thinking in successfully implementing the TIGER II discretionary grants program. As you may recall, DOT competitively awarded nearly $600 million in TIGER II grants last October, which are funding 75 innovative projects putting people to work today building a 21st century foundation for tomorrow's economic growth.
The team included employees from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration, and the Office of the Secretary.
The Department of Transportation’s Emergency Response Team received one of our highest honors, the Secretary’s Annual Gold Award.
As you know, our country faced an unusually large number of natural disasters this year – record tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, DOT's Emergency Response Team took significant and immediate action in communities across the nation.
They helped ensure that families and businesses could access the services and support they needed. They helped communities begin the process of rebuilding roads, bridges, and other arteries of commerce. And, most importantly, they helped make absolutely certain that people were safe.
Recognizing a handful of the outstanding people at DOT is something I look forward to every year; I only wish I could thank more of them. The fact is, I could neither be prouder nor more appreciative of our employees’ efforts during the past 12 months, and I am confident that they will continue to do great things for our country this year.