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Moving Americans into the 21st Century
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A SUMMARY - Secretary's Message

Message by
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater

Summary of
The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century

Photo: Rodney E. Slater

The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century reaffirms President Clinton's commitment to rebuilding America by providing a record, balanced investment in our highways, transit systems, and intermodal facilities. It does so in a fiscally responsible manner which protects last year's landmark balanced budget agreement and the President's other vital priorities, such as education, child care, and Social Security.

This historic legislation also reflects President Clinton's view that transportation is about more than concrete, asphalt, and steel: it is about people, and about providing them with the opportunity to lead safer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.

The bill protects Americans' health and safety through programs to increase seat belt use, improve truck safety, reduce crashes at rail-highway crossings, and prevent pipeline explosions. It also fights drunk driving through incentives to encourage States to adopt tough 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration standards.

This legislation strengthens proven strategies to safeguard public health and the environment, such as the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program to help communities clean their air, Transportation Enhancements to help them improve their quality of life, and new technologies, such as less polluting vehicles and intelligent transportation systems.

Finally, the bill expands opportunity for all Americans through a new Access to Jobs program to help those making the transition from welfare rolls to payrolls; a continued, effective Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program; and strong labor protections for workers on transportation projects.

The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century embodies President Clinton's vision of an integrated transportation system helping to ensure Americans' prosperity and quality of life into the new century. I look forward to working with Congress and our partners in State and local government and the private sector to make our joint vision a reality.

Rodney E. Slater

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United States Department of Transportation