U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today applauded $1.6 million in funding for the University of Tennessee (UT) from The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). The fiscal year 2007 funding is the first installment of UT’s 4-year designation as a Regional University Transportation Center (UTC). UT’s Southeast Transportation Center was selected to lead a Regional University Transportation Center consortium in July 2006 following a rigorous competitive selection process. Last week, the DOT’s RITA announced funding awards totaling $24.5 million for 20 universities to work with the Department to solve national and regional transportation challenges through research, education and technology transfer.
“This grant means good things for University of Tennessee and commerce in our state,” said Alexander. “Promoting and funding innovation keeps our country competitive and our economy strong, and this $1.6 billion investment will enable the university to continue its excellent work at finding creative ways to improve our avenues of transportation.”
“Our transportation systems are the arteries that drive American commerce,” said Corker. “UT’s participation as a Regional University Transportation Center will help the U.S. meet the unique challenges of competing in the 21st century global marketplace. I appreciate the Department of Transportation’s investment in the outstanding work taking place at UT.”
The University Transportation Center Program was initiated in 1987 with the mission “to advance U.S. technology and expertise in the many disciplines comprising transportation through education, research and technology transfer at university-based centers of excellence.” There are currently 60 universities across the country designated as University Transportation Centers. Regional University Transportation Centers are expected to work collaboratively with the U.S. DOT and provide leadership in solving national and regional transportation challenges. Each Regional University Transportation Center is authorized under SAFETEA-LU (P.L. 109-59) to receive up to $2 million in each of FY 2007-2008 and $2.225 million in FY 2009, which must be matched dollar-for-dollar with non-federal funding.