Research And Special Programs Administration
The Research and Special Programs Administration was established in 1977. It is responsible for hazardous materials transportation and pipeline safety, transportation emergency preparedness, safety training, and transportation research and development activities.
The SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, TERRORIST ATTACKS, when four commercial airliners were hijacked by terrorists who flew two of them into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and one into the Pentagon (the fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania), had a significant impact on the Department of Transportation. In November 2001, Congress passed legislation that created within the DOT the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency established to increase airport security. The following November the Homeland Security Act was passed, which authorized the establishment of the HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT. On March 1, 2003, the new department assumed management of the United States Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration, both of which had been operating administrations of the DOT.
Although no longer in charge of overseeing the protection of airline passengers, the Department of Transportation remained responsible for the safety of Americans traveling on the nation's highways. To that end the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) was making efforts in early 2003 to collaborate with other DOT components, federal agencies, state and local officials, business associations and the private sector to develop a plan for "emergency transportation operations preparedness." The purpose of the plan is to engage in regional and local cooperation and planning to facilitate the safe, continuous movement of people and goods during a national security event or emergency.
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