Today, I am thrilled to begin serving as the 17th U.S. Secretary of Transportation. In my first official blog post, I wanted to tell you more about myself and my goals for leading DOT.
I believe in safe, effective transportation, and whether it is a bus, road, train, plane, or ship, our transportation system --at its best-- connects people to a better quality of life.
As Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, I learned transportation from the ground up. But I learned the value of effective transportation even earlier.
I relied on a city bus to reach my first job, when I was 12 years old, at Charlotte's Discovery Place Science Museum. The Number 6 bus connected me to my job, but also to a larger world of opportunity, and we owe every American access to that same potential.
That's why President Obama has called on us to invest in our nation's infrastructure. He knows that quality transportation opens the door to success for countless Americans. And that's why the work of the U.S. Department of Transportation is so important.
As the Mayor of Charlotte, I saw how transportation promotes economic growth. Together, we extended our LYNX light rail system and started a new streetcar line; we expanded the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and broke ground on the Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility; we completed our I-485 beltway, repaired the Yadkin Bridge, and took on many other important infrastructure projects.
Every step of the way, the U.S. Department of Transportation was critical to helping us revitalize the Queen City.
In fact, business, the public, and all levels of government worked together to find pragmatic and creative solutions for the transportation challenges we faced. It's the kind of practical, bipartisan approach that I believe made Secretary Ray LaHood so effective at DOT, and a model I will follow.
As I begin my tenure at DOT, I plan to focus on three key areas, the first of which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows this Department: safety. As it has been for Secretary LaHood, the dedicated DOT workforce, and DOT's many partners and stakeholders, ensuring that America's transportation system is the safest in the world will be my top priority.
I will also focus on improving the efficiency and performance of our existing transportation system.
And finally we must draw on all of our innovation and creativity to improve our future transportation system.
The good news is we're not starting from scratch--from a stronger national freight network to key innovations like NextGen and high-speed rail, there are already important efforts underway here at DOT and across the country.
I'm excited to get to work, and I encourage you to get ready to read more about our work to meet these goals and support other innovative transportation efforts right here on our Fast Lane blog.