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The United States Department of Transportation

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or DOT) is a cabinet agency of the U.S. government tasked with aiding the development and maintenance of transportation infrastructure for the public. The DOT ensures efficient, safe and accessible transportation for U.S. citizens.

The department plays a role in the planning, building, regulating and maintenance of roads, airlines, railways and other public transit. The DOT may provide funding even on state and local levels, where the corresponding levels of government execute these tasks for transportation,

The DOT was created in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson to elevate transportation policy above military authority. Frustration motivated President Johnson as military reasoned their override of transport decisions as a matter of national security. The elevation of policy also opened up supersonic air travel for civilians as the DOT absorbed the Federal Aviation Agency. As a result, the DOT is responsible for the regulation of U.S. aviation and airports. The majority of the DOT's work is the building and maintenance of highways. The DOT operations also ensure the supply and operation of critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR).

As of 2014, the DOT's total budget was roughly 77 billion dollars. Its funds were allocated mostly for highways at $41 billion, aviation at $15.6 billion, federal transit administration at $10.9 billion and railroads at $6.6 billion.

This was last updated in March 2017

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