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Press Releases :: February 12, 2009

Subcommittee Reviews Federal and State Transportation R&D Efforts

(Washington, DC) – Today the Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation held a hearing to review the research, development, and deployment activities of the Department of Transportation (DOT). In addition, the hearing focused on research priorities to incorporate in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) reauthorization. Subcommittee Members heard testimony regarding the funding, planning, and execution of current research initiatives and how these efforts will fulfill the strategic goals of both federal and state departments of transportation, metropolitan transportation organizations, and industry.

“I can think of no more appropriate topic for this Subcommittee to begin with, as Congress debates an economic stimulus package that contains $35 billion for surface transportation projects.  As we commence this major infrastructure initiative, we all agree that we should deploy the most recent and proven surface transportation technologies to ensure we’re building the highways of the future, not the highways of the past,” said Subcommittee Chairman David Wu (D-OR).

In 2005, SAFETEA-LU authorized $2.2 billion dollars through FY09 for research and related programs under Title V of the bill. Title V funds: surface transportation research by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), universities, and others; education and training programs; Bureau of Transportation Statistics; and research into Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

This hearing is the first in a series the Subcommittee will hold to review and improve the current transportation efforts; this information will later be incorporated into the comprehensive surface transportation bill.

“I have been disappointed by the Transportation Research Board’s recommendations that we need to increase funding as the means to overcome the challenges they identify, including slow technology transfer and a lack of clear national priorities in DOT’s R&D spending,” stated Wu. “I don’t think more money is a practical or realistic recommendation in our current economic environment. Throughout these hearings, I hope to find a way to make our federal investments in surface transportation R&D as effective and efficient as possible in overcoming the challenges of congestion mitigation and its impact on the environment.”

For witness testimony or more information on this hearing, visit the Committee’s website.



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