United States Department of Transportation

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United States Department of Transportation
United States Department of Transportation seal.svg
Seal of the USDOT
Flag of the United States Department of Transportation.svg
Flag of the USDOT
USDOT headquarters - Navy Yard.jpg
Headquarters of the U.S. Department of Transportation
Department overview
FormedApril 1, 1967;56 years ago (1967-04-01)
Jurisdiction U.S. federal government
Headquarters1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, D.C.
38°52′32.92″N77°0′10.26″W / 38.8758111°N 77.0028500°W / 38.8758111; -77.0028500
Annual budget US$ 87.6 billion (FY2021, enacted) [1]
Department executives
Child agencies
Website www.transportation.gov OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
The seal of the U.S. Department of Transportation before 1980. Seal of the United States Department of Transportation (1980).svg
The seal of the U.S. Department of Transportation before 1980.
The flag of the U.S. Department of Transportation before 1980. Flag of the U.S. Department of Transportation (1967-1980).png
The flag of the U.S. Department of Transportation before 1980.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or DOT) is one of the executive departments of the U.S. federal government. It is headed by the secretary of transportation, who reports directly to the president of the United States and is a member of the president's Cabinet.


The department's fiscal year 2022–2026 strategic plan states that its mission is "to deliver the world's leading transportation system, serving the American people and economy through the safe, efficient, sustainable, and equitable movement of people and goods." [2]


In 1965 Najeeb Halaby, the chief of the independent Federal Aviation Agency strongly urged President Lyndon Johnson to set up a cabinet-level Department of Transportation. Halaby proposed merging the responsibilities of the undersecretary of commerce for transportation and the Federal Aviation Agency to achieve this goal. While the federal government was granted authority over aviation and railroads through the commerce clause of the Constitution, the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration primarily provided funding for state and local projects, without significant influence over road construction and operation. Halaby emphasized the need for improved coordination and expressed frustration at the lack of an overall plan. "One looks in vain", he told Johnson, "for a point of responsibility below the President capable of taking an evenhanded, comprehensive, authoritarian approach to the development of transportation policies or even able to assure reasonable coordination and balance among the various transportation programs of the government." Johnson convinced Congress to act and The Department of Transportation was authorized in October 1966 and launched on 1 April 1967, with a mission to ensure that federal funds were effectively used to support the national transportation program. Johnson proclaimed upon signing the act: "Transportation has truly emerged as a significant part of our national life. As a basic force in our society, its progress must be accelerated so that the quality of our life can be improved. [3] [4] [5] [6]


Former agencies


In 2012, the DOT awarded $742.5 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to 11 transit projects. The awardees include light rail projects. Other projects include both a commuter rail extension and a subway project in New York City, and a bus rapid transit system in Springfield, Oregon. The funds subsidize a heavy rail project in northern Virginia, completing the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Metro Silver Line to connect Washington, D.C., and the Washington Dulles International Airport [7] (DOT had previously agreed to subsidize the Silver Line construction to Reston, Virginia). [8]

President Barack Obama's budget request for 2010 also included $1.83 billion in funding for major transit projects. More than $600 million went towards ten new or expanding transit projects. The budget provided additional funding for all of the projects currently receiving Recovery Act funding, except for the bus rapid transit project. It also continued funding for another 18 transit projects that are either currently under construction or soon will be. [7] Following the same, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 delegated $600 million for Infrastructure Investments, referred to as Discretionary Grants.

The Department of Transportation was authorized a budget for Fiscal Year 2016 of $75.1 billion. The budget authorization is broken down as follows: [9]

Agency / OfficeFunding (in millions)Employees (FTE)
Federal Aviation Administration $16,280.745,988
Federal Highway Administration $43,049.72,782
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration $580.41,175
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration $869.0639
Federal Transit Administration $11,782.6585
Federal Railroad Administration $1,699.2934
Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration $249.6575
Maritime Administration $399.3835
Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation $28.4144
Office of the Secretary$935.41,284
Office of the Inspector General$87.5413

In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $1.2 trillion act included over $660 billion in funding for transportation-related infrastructure projects over the five-year period of fiscal years 2022-2026. [10]

Freedom of Information Act processing performance

In the latest Center for Effective Government analysis of 15 federal agencies which receive the most Freedom of Information Act FOIA requests, published in 2015 (using 2012 and 2013 data, the most recent years available), the Department of Transportation earned a D by scoring 65 out of a possible 100 points, i.e., did not earn a satisfactory overall grade. [12]

See also

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  1. "Department of Transportation 2022 Budget Highlights" (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation. p. 11. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 5, 2022. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  2. "Fiscal Year 2022-2026 U.S. Department of Transportation Strategic Plan" (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  3. Richard Dean Burns and Joseph M. Siracusa, Historical Dictionary of the Kennedy-Johnson Era (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) p. 118.
  4. "The United States Department of Transportation: A Brief History". National Transportation Library. March 1, 2009. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012.
  5. Edwards, Chris. "Department of Transportation Timeline". Downsizing the Federal Government.
  6. April 1, 1967 : the opening day of the U.S. Department of Transportation. January 1, 2017 By Martin, David; Strayhorn, Nicole C.; Wilson, Amanda J. Official website of United States Department of Transportation, National Transportation Library, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
  7. 1 2 "DOT Awards $742.5 Million in Recovery Act Funds to 11 Transit Projects". EERE Network News. May 13, 2009. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  8. "Annual Report on Funding Recommendations – Fiscal Year 2010" (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation. April 29, 2009. pp. A-75 (101) & seq. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  9. "Transforming Communities in the 21st Century" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on April 29, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  10. "Bipartisan Infrastructure Law FAQs". U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  11. "Profile Showing the Grades upon the Different Routes Surveyed for the Union Pacific Rail Road Between the Missouri River and the Valley of the Platte River". World Digital Library . 1865. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  12. Making the Grade: Access to Information Scorecard 2015 Archived March 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine . March 2015, p. 80, Center for Effective Government. Retrieved March 21, 2016.