The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 18, 2008

Fact Sheet: Improving Travel During The Holidays And Beyond
President Bush Announces Expansion Of "Thanksgiving Express Lanes" And Opening Of Three New Runways To Reduce Congestion; Also Highlights Transportation Safety Record

     Fact sheet President Bush Discusses Aviation Congestion and Transportation Safety

Today, President Bush visited the Department of Transportation (DOT) and discussed measures to improve air travel, both during the upcoming holiday season and in the future, and highlighted his Administration's transportation safety record.  Over the holidays, millions of Americans will take to the roads, railways, and skies to visit loved ones.  For too many travelers, though, it means long delays, cancellations, and lost bags.  Today the President announced new measures that bolster the Administration's efforts to address those problems. 

The Administration is also addressing the heavy air traffic around New York City, which is the source of many of the flight delays and cancellations across our country.  We have improved local air-traffic control, added a new departure route from the metro area, and capped the total number of flights.  DOT has just awarded nearly $90 million over an eight-year period to upgrade existing taxiways and build new ones at John F. Kennedy International Airport.  Together, these actions will help reduce flight delays across the country.

DOT Has Built An Impressive Record When It Comes To Improving Travel

Under President Bush's leadership, DOT has built a strong record on improving air travel for American consumers.  During the President's time in office, the Federal government has put in place regulations to make airlines more accountable for the way they treat passengers and helped achieved important safety milestones. 

This Administration's efforts to open international aviation markets have given our airlines new access to dozens of foreign countries and have dramatically increased service for the traveling public.  Through agreements with the European Union, India, Australia, Canada, Thailand, and China, the Administration has increased flights between the United States and these countries, expanding options for passengers and shippers and creating competitive opportunities for our airlines. 

DOT has also worked to safeguard our environment and promoted energy security.  The energy bill President Bush signed last year will save fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions by specifying a national fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.  Additionally, President Bush and his Administration are:

DOT Can Be Proud Of Making Transportation Systems Safer, Cleaner, And More Effective – Yet There Is Still Much More To Be Done

Reform is needed, both in our skies and along our roads. As Members of Congress take up the next highway and aviation bills in the coming year, they should adhere to a few key principles.  They should harness the power of the free market through policies like congestion pricing, which uses the laws of supply and demand to reduce traffic on our roads and in the air.  They should ensure that taxpayer funds for transportation are allocated based on the true needs of the American people and economy – not spent on wasteful earmarks or the political demands of influential lobbies.  They should provide incentives to leverage private investment in the private sector to develop new technologies, invest in our infrastructure, and help make our transportation system worthy of the 21st century. 

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