What is DOT?
The Department of Transportation ( DOT) is a federal Cabinet department of the U.S. government concerned with transportation. It was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, and began operation on April 1, 1967. It is governed by the United States Secretary of Transportation.
Its mission is to “Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.”
Prior to the Department of Transportation, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Transportation administered the functions now associated with the DOT. In 1965, Najeeb Halaby, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), suggested to President Lyndon B. Johnson that transportation be elevated to a cabinet-level post, and that the FAA be folded into the DOT.
In 2010, 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 fiscal year 2010 also included $1.83 billion in funding for major transit projects, of which more than $600 million went towards 10 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 delegates $600 million for Infrastructure Investments, referred to as Discretionary Grants. The Department of Transportation was authorized a budget for Fiscal Year 2014 of $77.2 billion.