The Texas Transportation Institute is the recipient of a $3.5 million federal grant that will extend operations of the Southwest Region University Transportation Center (SWUTC) another year. The funding announcement was made this week by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
As a result of the funding, transportation programs at Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas Southern University, Louisiana State University and The University of New Orleans will address a wide range of vital transportation research and curriculum issues. SWUTC is one of ten regional consortia that are part of a nationwide UTC program that includes a total of 121 universities. In all, $77 million will be awarded for this year’s program, which includes 10 regional UTCs plus 12 Tier 1 centers.
“Winning this grant award is great news for our researchers, faculty members, and students,” says SWUTC Director Dock Burke, who is also a Texas A&M University System Regents Fellow and senior research scientist at TTI. “The one-year funding will allow us to enhance SWUTC’s education, research and technology-transfer efforts that have been so vital in solving transportation-related problems in our region and educating the professional cadre that will lead the transportation sector of the future.” Burke has been involved in SWUTC since its inception in 1988, and has been director since 1992.
The U.S. DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration used a competitive process to select the 22 centers to receive the grant funding. These UTCs will work closely with federal, state and local agencies to solve transportation problems.
“SWUTC has been active in developing a transportation work force to solve some of the transportation issues we face including efficiency, finance, safety, and sustainability,” Burke says. “Also, this new funding will help us attract the very top quality students with scholarships and other educational opportunities to our campuses.”