The safety of the nation's highways is a top priority for the US Department of Transportation (DOT). The agency develops federal transportation policy and promotes the improvement of roads, pipelines, railways, airways, and waterways. DOT consists of about 10 organizations, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Maritime Administration. DOT works with the local, state, and private sector to achieve objectives such as increasing mobility, protecting the environment, and supporting national security. Founded in 1966, the agency had an annual budget of about $75 billion in 2011 and is requesting a budget of $128 billion for 2012.
Other agencies and organizations that DOT oversees include the Federal Transit Administration, National Infrastructure Bank, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, and the Surface Transportation Board.
Of its $128 billion proposed 2012 budget, DOT is allocating 54% of this total to the Federal Highway Administration and 17% to the Federal Transit Administration. The Federal Aviation Administration will also receive about 15% of this amount.
The President plans for the higher 2012 budget to help re-build the country and galvanize economic investment. The extra $50 billion will be targeted towards projects that can create American jobs and enhance the country's transportation infrastructure for the next generation. Funds will be directed at airport, highway, transit, and rail programs with a large concentration ($26 billion) going into critical highway and bridge improvements.