United States Department of Transportation

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or DOT) is one of the executive departments of the U.S. federal government. It is headed by the secretary of transportation, who reports directly to the president of the United States and is a member of the president's Cabinet.

United States Department of Transportation
Seal of the USDOT
Flag of the USDOT

Headquarters of the U.S. Department of Transportation
Department overview
FormedApril 1, 1967 (1967-04-01)
JurisdictionUnited States of America
Headquarters1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, D.C.
38°52′32.92″N 77°0′10.26″W
Annual budgetUS$87.6 billion (FY2021, enacted)[1]
Department executives
Child agencies
The seal of the U.S. Department of Transportation before 1980.
The flag of the U.S. Department of Transportation before 1980.

The department's mission is "to develop and coordinate policies that will provide an efficient and economical national transportation system, with due regard for need, the environment, and the national defense."[2]


Prior to the creation of the Department of Transportation, its functions were administered by the under secretary of commerce for transportation. In 1965, Najeeb Halaby, administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency (predecessor to 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.[3]

It was established by Congress in the Department of Transportation Act on October 15, 1966.[4] The department began operation on April 1, 1967.[5][6]

The idea of having a federal department of transportation was first proposed by former president Woodrow Wilson in 1921–22.[7]


Former agencies


In 2012, 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.[8] (DOT had previously agreed to subsidize the Silver Line construction to Reston, Virginia.)[9]

President Barack Obama's budget request for 2010 also included $1.83 billion in funding for major transit projects. More than $600 million went towards ten 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.[8] Following the same, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 delegated $600 million for Infrastructure Investments, referred to as Discretionary Grants.

The Department of Transportation was authorized a budget for Fiscal Year 2016 of $75.1 billion. The budget authorization is broken down as follows:[10]

Agency / Office Funding (in millions) Employees (FTE)
Federal Aviation Administration $16,280.7 45,988
Federal Highway Administration $43,049.7 2,782
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration $580.4 1,175
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration $869.0 639
Federal Transit Administration $11,782.6 585
Federal Railroad Administration $1,699.2 934
Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration $249.6 575
Maritime Administration $399.3 835
Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation $28.4 144
Office of the Secretary $935.4 1,284
Office of the Inspector General $87.5 413
TOTAL $75,536.1 55,739

In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $1.2 trillion act included over $250 billion in funding for transportation-related infrastructure projects.[11]

Freedom of Information Act processing performance

In the latest Center for Effective Government analysis of 15 federal agencies which receive the most Freedom of Information Act FOIA requests, published in 2015 (using 2012 and 2013 data, the most recent years available), the Department of Transportation earned a D by scoring 65 out of a possible 100 points, i.e., did not earn a satisfactory overall grade.[13]

See also


  1. "Department of Transportation 2022 Budget Highlights" (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation. p. 11. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 5, 2022. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  2. Grinder, R. Dale. "The United States Department of Transportation: A Brief History". U.S. Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on July 17, 2004. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
  3. "US Department of Transportation, History". National Transportation Library. March 1, 2009. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012.
  4. United States. Department of Transportation Act. Pub. L. 89–670 Approved October 15, 1966.
  5. Department of Transportation Timeline Chris Edwards.
  6. April 1, 1967 : the opening day of the U.S. Department of Transportation. January 1, 2017 By Martin, David ; Strayhorn, Nicole C. ; Wilson, Amanda J. Official website of United States Department of Transportation, National Transportation Library, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
  7. Ware, Susan; Berg, Scott (December 2003). "The Hepburn Enigma". The Women's Review of Books. 21 (3): 20. doi:10.2307/4024203. ISSN 0738-1433. JSTOR 4024203.
  8. "DOT Awards $742.5 Million in Recovery Act Funds to 11 Transit Projects". EERE Network News. May 13, 2009. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  9. "Annual Report on Funding Recommendations – Fiscal Year 2010" (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation. April 29, 2009. pp. A-75 (101) & seq. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  10. "Transforming Communities in the 21st Century" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on April 29, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  11. "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act". National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved October 18, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. "Profile Showing the Grades upon the Different Routes Surveyed for the Union Pacific Rail Road Between the Missouri River and the Valley of the Platte River". World Digital Library. 1865. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  13. Making the Grade: Access to Information Scorecard 2015 Archived March 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. March 2015, p. 80, Center for Effective Government. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
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