Department of Transportation

Federico Peña, Secretary

Mission Statement

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is vital to our economy and quality of life. DOT will Tie America Together with a safe, technologically advanced, and efficient transportation system that promotes economic growth and international competitiveness now and in the future and that contributes to a healthy and secure environment. To accomplish this overall mission, DOT has identified seven primary goals:

Summary Budget Information

FY 1993 (Actual) FY 1996 (Budgeted)
Budget Staff Budget Staff
$36.681 billion 109,242 $37.504 billion 101,232

Reinvention Highlights

Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation provides safety oversight and infrastructure and technology investment that keep the U.S. transportation system the safest and most efficient in the world.

When President Clinton took office, the Department's ability to maintain this leadership was under stress. Red tape, outdated programs, and misplaced requirements wasted money, burdened our partners, and hindered our ability to serve the American people. Major project delays and cost overruns, like those of the initiative to automate air traffic control technology, were only the most visible problems.

I saw that we needed to do two things. First, clearly define the Department's mission to focus our resources on core responsibilities. Second, change the Department's culture to one that views transportation system users, state and local governments, and the American people themselves as our customers.

Redefining Mission. I developed a strategic plan that clarified the Department's mission, outlined the challenges we faced to fulfill that mission, and then set seven primary goals to meet those challenges. This strategic plan is focused on results, not process, and has guided us in everything we've since done to help America's transportation systems prepare for the 21st century.

The plan's results can be seen in many ways: the increase of infrastructure and research investment to its highest levels ever, the establishment of three-dozen international aviation agreements to open markets and create jobs for American airlines, to increase opportunities for travelers, and to improve in the health of America's aerospace and shipbuilding industries.

Changing the Culture. The effort to change our culture is based on Vice President Gore's National Performance Review, which focuses on making the federal government work better, cost less, and be more responsive to its customers. To do so, we're implementing a wide range of new initiatives and operational improvements.

The most dramatic of these is a restructuring of the Department to put front line service as our top priority. The Federal Highway, Transit, and Railroad Administrations and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- which have many functions in common -- are streamlining their field offices to provide one-stop shopping for our customers and move us towards a seamless system in which the different forms of transportation are fully integrated.

The Coast Guard is carrying out a streamlining that will eliminate layers and better align its programs and command structure. Shifting headquarters staff to the field, decommissioning inefficient older ships and aircraft, and consolidating unneeded offices will not only improve performance but also save $400 million from 1994 to 1998 while freeing hundreds of millions of dollars in property for other uses.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is streamlining its operations to focus on key areas such as air traffic control and aircraft safety inspections and is making sure that the right people are in the right jobs right away. Personnel reforms are cutting outside hiring times from seven months to six weeks, reducing 155,000 job descriptions to fewer than 2,000, and replacing a foot-thick stack of personnel rules with a 41-page booklet.

Focusing on Customers and Results. Improving customer service through streamlining has allowed us to reduce our workforce by more than 8,000 overall, saving hundreds of millions of dollars a year in salaries and overhead. However, our focus on improving customer service goes beyond restructuring.

The examples I've cited are only a few of the ways the Department of Transportation is reinventing its operations to focus on its core mission and to improve customer service. As we continue these initiatives, we're keeping our eye on the goal: a leaner, less costly government that better serves the American people. I'm proud to say that we're well on the way to doing that.


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