Headquarters of the U.S. Department of Transportation
|April 1, 1967
|U.S. federal government
|1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, D.C.
|US$ 87.6 billion (FY2021, enacted)
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."
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.
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(DOT had previously agreed to subsidize the Silver Line construction to Reston, Virginia).
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.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:
|Agency / Office
|Funding (in millions)
|Federal Aviation Administration
|Federal Highway Administration
|Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
|National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
|Federal Transit Administration
|Federal Railroad Administration
|Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
|Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
|Office of the Secretary
|Office of the Inspector General
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.
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.
The Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976, often called the "4R Act," is a United States federal law that established the basic outlines of regulatory reform in the railroad industry and provided transitional operating funds following the 1970 bankruptcy of Penn Central Transportation Company. The law approved the "Final System Plan" for the newly created Conrail and authorized acquisition of Northeast Corridor tracks and facilities by Amtrak.
In the United States, a continuing resolution is a type of appropriations legislation. An appropriations bill is a bill that appropriates money to specific federal government departments, agencies, and programs. The money provides funding for operations, personnel, equipment, and activities. Regular appropriations bills are passed annually, with the funding they provide covering one fiscal year. The fiscal year is the accounting period of the federal government, which runs from October 1 to September 30 of the following year.
The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 is a United States federal law that posed a major change to transportation planning and policy, as the first U.S. federal legislation on the subject in the post-Interstate Highway System era.
The 110th United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, between January 3, 2007, and January 3, 2009, during the last two years of the Presidency of George W. Bush. It was composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The apportionment of seats in the House was based on the 2000 U.S. census.
The National Highway System (NHS) is a network of strategic highways within the United States, including the Interstate Highway System and other roads serving major airports, ports, military bases, rail or truck terminals, railway stations, pipeline terminals and other strategic transport facilities. Altogether, it constitutes the largest highway system in the world.
Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users or SAFETEA-LU was a funding and authorization bill that governed United States federal surface transportation spending. It was signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 10, 2005, as Pub. L. 109–59 (text)(PDF) and 119 Stat. 1144.
The following bills in the United States have been known as the Federal-Aid Highway Act or similar names since their initial adoption in 1916. The initial adoption established Congress to authorize and provide federal funding for constructing roads. There have been various amendments to the Federal-Aid Highway Act.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) is an agency of the government of Oklahoma responsible for the construction and maintenance of the state's transportation infrastructure. Under the leadership of the Oklahoma secretary of transportation and ODOT executive director, the department maintains public infrastructure that includes highways and state-owned railroads and administers programs for county roads, city streets, public transit, passenger rail, waterways and active transportation. Along with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, the department is the primary infrastructure construction and maintenance agency of the State.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) oversees roads, public transit, aeronautics, and transportation licensing and registration in the US state of Massachusetts. It was created on November 1, 2009, by the 186th Session of the Massachusetts General Court upon enactment of the 2009 Transportation Reform Act.
Title 49 of the United States Code is a positive law title of the United States Code with the heading "Transportation."
The Airport Improvement Program is a United States federal grant program that provides funds to public use airports to help improve safety and efficiency. Improvement projects relate to runways, taxiways, ramps, lighting, signage, weather stations, NAVAIDs, land acquisition, and some areas of planning. The program is managed by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Rivers and Harbors Act may refer to one of many pieces of legislation and appropriations passed by the United States Congress since the first such legislation in 1824. At that time Congress appropriated $75,000 to improve navigation on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers by removing sandbars, snags, and other obstacles. Like when first passed, the legislation was to be administered by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), under its Chief Engineer and the Secretary of War.
The 2011 United States federal budget was the United States federal budget to fund government operations for the fiscal year 2011. The budget was the subject of a spending request by President Barack Obama. The actual appropriations for Fiscal Year 2011 had to be authorized by the full Congress before it could take effect, according to the U.S. budget process.
Public Law 113-2, containing Division A: Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 and Division B: Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 is a U.S. appropriations bill authorizing $60 billion for disaster relief agencies. The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), had authorized only disaster spending and emergency spending to exceed established spending caps. While emergency spending is not subject to the caps in the BCA, spending for disaster relief is calculated by taking the average of the previous ten years disaster relief spending, excluding the highest and lowest spending years.
United States enterprise law is the body of law concerning networks, platforms, utilities, public services and the regulation of other enterprises or business entities. It is based on federal statutes, state statutes, and case law, that seek to guarantee human rights, particularly economic and social rights.
Section 165 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 is a section of the larger STAA that deals with purchases related to rail or road transportation. Unlike the similarly titled Buy American Act (1933), the Buy America Act applies only to purchases related to rail or road transportation, such as the construction of highways, railways, or rapid transit systems. The 1982 provisions also apply to purchases made by third-party agencies, using funds granted by agencies within the United States Department of Transportation.
The Acquisition Management System (AMS) provides policy and guidance on lifecycle acquisition management by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The self-stated objectives of the AMS "are to increase the quality, reduce the time, manage the risk, and minimize the cost of delivering safe and secure services to the aviation community and flying public." The AMS applies to acquisitions by the FAA in place of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and various other provisions of Federal acquisition law.
The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 is a law that reauthorized Amtrak and authorized the United States Department of Transportation to provide grants for operating costs and capital expenses and to repay Amtrak's long-term debt and capital leases. It required Amtrak to adopt cost and performance metrics with regard to its intercity trains and established the Northeast Corridor Commission to govern Amtrak’s shared services along the Northeast Corridor.
Transportation in the United States is governed by laws and regulations of the federal government. The Department of Transportation is responsible for carrying out federal transportation policy, and the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for security in transportation.