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The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY conducted its 82nd commencement exercises this past Saturday, June 16th graduating 187 new Merchant Marine and Military Officers in the class of 2018.

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point is one of five federal service academies. It prepares students for jobs in transportation and defense. In times of war or national emergency, Merchant Marine ships operate as an auxiliary unit to the Navy, delivering military troops, supplies and equipment overseas for U.S. forces and allies.  In 2017, these ships provided emergency relief to hurricane struck areas such as Houston, Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands.

These graduates will provide a vital role in filling the shortage of fully qualified, licensed mariners to crew commercial U.S. Merchant Marine vessels for our national defense. The Maritime Administration estimates that the nation is about 2,000 licensed mariners short for a full mobilization.

Each congressionally-nominated graduate received a Bachelor of Science Degree, an unlimited merchant marine officer license from the United States Coast Guard, and an Officer’s Commission in the U.S. Navy or another branch of the military. In exchange for their education each has the option of sailing as a Merchant Marine Officer while serving in the reserves of any branch of the U.S. military, or serving on active military duty.

Learn more about the role of the USMMA at https://www.usmma.edu/

Congratulations to these brave Midshipmen!

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy class of 2018 Graduates by Military Service Branch

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued the Private Investment Project Procedures (PIPP) Final Rule that describes new procedures aimed at helping the federal government develop more effective approaches to spurring private participation and investment in project planning, development, finance, design, construction, maintenance, and operations.

There are numerous opportunities where the private sector can engage in the public transportation industry, ranging from private operators participating in the planning and transportation improvement program process to a public-private partnership, in which a private firm participates in the design, building, finance, operation, and maintenance aspects of a transit facility. Other examples of private sector participation include Joint DevelopmentCapital Leasing, and Third Party Contracting.

PIPP allows grantees the ability to identify FTA regulations, practices, procedures or guidance that may impede the use of a public-private partnership (P3) or private investment in that project. The FTA Administrator would have discretion to grant a modification or waiver of a requirement if certain criteria are met. PIPP could not be used to waive any requirement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or any other provision of Federal statute.

Private Investment Project Procedures Graphic

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May 28– June 3 is National Tire Safety Week, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding drivers that proper tire maintenance is essential for safety and for reducing the cost of vehicle ownership. Whether you’re getting ready for a summer road trip or just performing routine maintenance on your vehicle, don’t forget that your tires are important for safety and savings.

Tire Facts

  • Only 19% of consumers properly check and inflate their tires.
  • 1 in 4 cars have at least one tire that is significantly underinflated.
  • Tires lose about 1 psi (pound per square inch) of pressure each month.  Be sure to check your tires monthly.
  • Proper tire inflation can save you 11 cents per gallon on fuel and can extend the average life of a tire by 4,700 miles.

NHTSA offers everything you need to know about tires and safety on nhtsa.gov. It covers: buying tires, maintaining them, how age can affect their safety, and the important information contained on their labels. Want to be Tire Wise? Check out these helpful tips and look to the site for even more information.

In the Garage Tire Tips Infographic

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization provides technical and financial assistance, small business outreach and training services that help members of the nation’s small business community compete for and participate in federally funded contracts.

Small Business Opportunities Day Attendee statistics

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and small businesses create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. The importance of these small businesses in our economy is why every year since 1963 the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Attendees networking at small business event

The Department of Transportation is a leader among cabinet agencies in ensuring that small businesses have access to federal contracting opportunities.  In fact, every year for the past 10 years, the Department has been awarded an A rating for reaching and exceeding its small business contracting goals and is on the path to achieve another A rating for FY 2017.

Ajit Pai Linda McMahon Secreatary Chao Derek Kan group photo

(Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Linda McMahon, and USDOT Undersecretary for Policy Derek Kan joined Secretary Elaine L. Chao for a joint celebration of Small Business Opportunities Day and National Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month at USDOT Headquarters last week.)

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The USDOT has selected 10 state, local and tribal governments as participants in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program. The UAS Integration Pilot Program will help tackle the most significant challenges to integrating drones into the national airspace and will reduce risks to public safety and security. The program is a coordinated effort to provide certainty and stability to communities, drone owners and the rapidly evolving drone industry. In less than a decade, the potential economic benefit of integrating UAS in the nation’s airspace is estimated at $82 billion and could create 100,000 jobs.

The 10 selectees are:

  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Durant, OK
  • City of San Diego, CA
  • Virginia Tech - Center for Innovative Technology, Herndon, VA
  • Kansas Department of Transportation, Topeka, KS
  • Lee County Mosquito Control District, Ft. Myers, FL
  • Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, Memphis, TN
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation, Raleigh, NC
  • North Dakota Department of Transportation, Bismarck, ND
  • City of Reno, NV
  • University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK

Over the next two and a half years, the selectees will collect drone data involving night operations, flights over people and beyond the pilot’s line of sight, package delivery, detect-and-avoid technologies and the reliability and security of data links between pilot and aircraft. The data collected from these operations will help the USDOT and FAA craft new enabling rules that allow more complex low-altitude operations, identify ways to balance local and national interests related to UAS integration, improve communications with local, state and tribal jurisdictions, address security and privacy risks, and accelerate the approval of operations that currently require special authorizations.

Watch the historic moment here: https://www.transportation.gov/uas-integration

UAS Integration Pilot Program image with DOT seal

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