Business View Civil & Municipal Apr-2023

7 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 4, ISSUE 4 TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT TO INVEST $94M INTO PROJECTS PROMOTING INNOVATION, SAFETY, Andy Castillo, First published 22, March, 2023 As transportation technology evolves at a breakneck pace—from self-driving cars to electric vehicles—the infrastructure and innovation that supports it must evolve faster. From the American Rescue Plan Act to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Act, the federal government has proven itself to be a reliable partner for local governments. Most recently, a $94 million grant opportunity from the U.S. Department of Transportation seeks to jumpstart 59 projects intended to innovate transportation systems. “Every major advancement in the history of U.S. transportation has involved technological progress,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about the funding, which comes through the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program. “The investments we are making today are about fostering innovations that improve people’s day- to-day lives, making transportation safer, more reliable, more efficient, and more sustainable.” In its inaugural 2022 year, the program received six times more interest than there was money available. This year, funding will support a variety of projects emphasizing safety, reliability, innovation and efficiency in communities across the nation, like the installation of crash cushion systems on the back of work vehicles to shield them from vehicle impacts. Other communities will receive funding for projects focused on innovation through data integration, transit incentives, and accessibility tools, according to a statement. “We are thrilled to see the interest in SMART (last year),” said Dr. Robert Hampshire, deputy assistant secretary for research and technology and chief science officer at the federal transportation organization. “This shows the important role this new program can play in helping support State, local, and Tribal efforts to advance technology applications.” OPENING L INES