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Transportation Secretary Mineta Launches New Research and Innovative Technology and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrations

Transportation Secretary Mineta Launches New Research and Innovative Technology and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrations

New Research and Hazmat Safety Agencies to Begin Operations Ahead of Schedule

DOT 28-05
Brian Turmail
202-366-4570

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 — U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced the creation of two new agencies at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) one to focus on innovation and research and the other on pipeline and hazardous materials safety to help the Department more effectively execute its mission of developing and applying innovative technologies to create the transportation system of the 21st century. The new agencies will begin operating Feb. 20, a week before the deadline set by Congress.

The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) were authorized on Nov. 30, 2004 when President Bush signed the Norman Y. Mineta Research and Special Programs Improvement Act.

These new agencies will help the Department focus on two critical priorities for our nations transportation system -- innovation and safety, Secretary Mineta said. RITA reflects how important research and technology are to our core mission, while the creation of PHMSA will continue and strengthen our commitment to safety.

RITA will be dedicated to the advancement of the departments priorities for innovation and research in transportation technologies and concepts. PHMSA will oversee the safety of the more than 800,000 daily shipments of hazardous materials in the United States and the 64 percent of the nations energy that is transported by pipelines.

RITA will be composed of staff from RSPAs Office of Innovation, Research and Education, and include the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, MA and the Transportation Safety Institute in Oklahoma City. RITA also will house the Secretarys Office of Intermodalism and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Staff from the former Research and Special Programs Administrations (RSPA) Office of Hazardous Materials Safety and Office of Pipeline Safety will form PHMSA.