This week the White House is celebrating the work of American Heroes across the country. Here at the U.S. Department of Transportation, we also want to honor the courageous and inspiring work of our transportation heroes.
Transportation reaches every corner of the country, and so do the transportation professionals who keep our infrastructure running safely and efficiently. From air traffic controllers and first responders to safety technicians and engineers, these heroes are saving lives and creating bold innovations throughout every mode of transportation.
For more than 80 years, air traffic controllers have been critical to aviation safety. Today, their tireless efforts ensure more than 2.5 million flyers get to their destinations quickly and safely daily. Without their expertise and professionalism, the U.S. would not have the safest national air space system in the world.
There are countless stories of air traffic controllers displaying expert decision-making skills to avoid potentially catastrophic situations. Take the near miss that happened at the Burlington, VT, Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility last November as just one example. After noticing a passenger jet descending dangerously low into a mountainous region, one controller quickly alerted the pilots, allowing them to descend just enough to miss a mountain range by only 1,000 feet – saving many lives.
Additionally, as we saw after the I-85 bridge collapse in Atlanta this past March, first responders are often the difference between life and death after traumatic accidents. Atlanta firefighters, police and Georgia state troopers rushed to the scene of the I-85 fire and bridge collapse to control the 40-foot flames and keep the public safe. Transportation professionals were also on the ground almost immediately to begin the rebuilding process. They worked tirelessly around the clock to rebuild and reopen the bridge as quickly and safely as possible.
Transportation professionals keep our country moving, and I want to recognize and thank them for their continued dedication. They embody the true spirit of service, which is just one of the qualities that makes America great.