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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 8, 1998
                   NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION WEEK, 1998

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                              A PROCLAMATION

America's transportation system is the finest in the world. The web of streets, highways, bridges, and railroads that crisscross our Nation and our complex network of shipping lanes and air routes keep us connected to one another and the world. They enable us to move people and goods swiftly and efficiently across the country and around the globe and fuel the engine of our robust economy. Whether building subways, constructing new highways, or improving airplane safety, the dedicated and hardworking men and women of our national transportation system keep America moving.

As we look forward to a new century, we must build on our record of achievement. As always, our first priority must be the safety of those who use our Nation's transportation system. We have already made great progress in improving highway safety -- the traffic fatality rate today is two-and-a-half times less than it was 30 years ago. However, by increasing seat belt use, ensuring that our children are properly secured in our vehicles, and lowering the threshold for drunk driving to a blood alcohol concentration of .08, we can further reduce the number of traffic accidents and the harm they cause.

We also must strive to keep our Nation's transportation system secure and our borders safe from terrorists and drug traffickers. Today, through improved training techniques and advanced technology, we have increased security at our airports, and programs such as the Coast Guard's Operation Frontier Shield have helped to seize tons of illegal drugs and abort numerous drug smuggling attempts.

While recognizing the many benefits we derive from our transportation system, we also acknowledge the need to use and develop it responsibly to ensure the protection of our environment. We are making progress in this goal as well: we have funded many projects to improve transit services and accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians; we are turning historic railroad terminals into multimodal transportation centers; and funds from transportation programs have helped to support wetlands restoration projects and have aided communities in planning both transit projects and sustainable development. We must build on these efforts by also working to reduce the pollutants and greenhouse gases that our transportation system creates.

Recognizing the need for safety, security, and environmental stewardship in America's transportation system, we also must invest in our transportation infrastructure. Together with the Congress, my Administration has provided funding for construction projects in communities across the country, creating 700,000 new transportationrelated jobs in the last 5 years. Our fiscal 1999 budget proposal for transportation infrastructure is 42 percent higher than the average level of investment from 1990 to 1993. The 240 trade agreements we have signed since 1993, including 27 "open skies" aviation agreements in the last 3 years, have opened markets around the world for American products. America's transportation system will enable us to seize these unprecedented opportunities for trade and economic growth.

In recognition of the importance of our Nation's transportation system to our national security and economic success, and in gratitude to the outstanding men and women who ensure its continued excellence, the United States Congress, by joint resolution approved May 16, 1957 (36 U.S.C. 160), has designated the third Friday in May of each year as "National Defense Transportation Day" and, by joint resolution approved May 14, 1962 (36 U.S.C. 166), declared that the week in which that Friday falls be designated "National Transportation Week."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Friday, May 15, 1998, as National Defense Transportation Day and May 10 through May 16, 1998, as National Transportation Week. I urge all Americans to observe these occasions with appropriate ceremonies and activities, giving due recognition to the individuals and organizations that build, operate, and maintain this country's modern transportation systems.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


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