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How to Do Business With - Department of Transportation

20 Jan 2017 2:53 PM | Myra Cisse (Administrator)

The Department of Transportation is another familiar department.  It establishes the nation’s transportation policy.  The Department of Transportation oversees aviation, highways, mass transit, railroads, ports, pipelines and more.  

There are 12 key agencies that support the DOT in its mission to oversee the movement of products and people across the United States. There is a separate agency that handles each of the modes of transportation.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) handles aviation; the Federal Highway Administration is responsible for highways; the Federal Transit Administration monitors all public transit systems; the Federal Railroad Administration is in charge of railroads; the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is responsible for pipelines; and the Maritime Administration promotes the seamless integration of waterborne transportation with other segments of the transportation system.

Although the responsibilities of the aforementioned agencies appear obvious, some agencies are charged with much broader tasks.  The Maritime Administration for example works in a wide array of areas involving ships, shipping, shipbuilding, ship disposal, port and vessel operations, and national security.  The agency maintains a fleet of cargo ships in reserve in cases of war and national emergencies and also maintains the viability of the U.S merchant marine.  The Maritime Administration also administers the America’s Marine Highway program and is responsible for the 25,000+ miles of coastal, intercostal and inland waterways.  If you are in the transportation industry and can make use of these underutilized Marine Highways, there may be federal grant money available for you.  Check out this link http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-20013.pdf  for details on the America’s Marine Highway Grant Notice of Funds Availability.

Other key agencies of the Department of Transportation are the Bureau of Transportation Statistics - a statistical agency that administers data collection, analysis and reporting and ensures the most cost effective use of transportation monitoring resources; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - that directs highway safety programs; the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration - who’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle related fatalities and injuries;  the Research and Innovative Technology Administration - charged with deploying cutting edge technologies to improve the nation’s transportation systems; the Surface Transportation Board - an economic regulatory agency charged by Congress with resolving railroad rate and service disputes; and Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation - that operates constructs and maintains that part of the St Lawrence  Seaway between Port of Montreal, Canada and Lake Erie that lies within the US.  

Most people only of the usual planes, trains and automobiles when they think of DOT contracting opportunities.  They don’t realize that research companies that are pioneering cars that drive themselves or cars that hover and fly have a place in the DOT in the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.  Nor do they think about the arbitrators and mediators who settle disputes in the Surface Transportation Board.

So whether you are a trucker, a pilot, a merchant marine or a railway engineer, the Department of Transportation has got you covered.  And if your business supports these folks or the adjacent industries, there are probably contracting opportunities awaiting you at the DOT.


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