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Press Releases :: November 19, 2009

Subcommittee Reviews the Priorities and Agenda of DOT’s R&D Portfolio

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation held a hearing to review the components of a surface transportation research and development (R&D) agenda to support the priorities of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  In addition, Subcommittee Members discussed the necessary steps for the DOT to implement its R&D agenda and the most effective practices for ensuring that the latest R&D is used in the field.
“Earlier this year, Secretary LaHood laid out four key priorities that would guide DOT policies: safety, economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability, and community livability. I think we can all agree that these are laudable goals. However, as Chair of the Subcommittee that oversees the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the federal agency charged by the Constitution with maintaining the nation's systems of weights and measures, I've learned two things: one, if you cannot define something, you don’t you know you're doing it; and two, if you can't measure it, it doesn't exist,” stated Subcommittee Chairman David Wu (D-OR).
“I wanted to better understand the definition of Secretary LaHood's four key priorities, the main elements of an R&D agenda that will support these priorities, the metrics required to ensure we are making a difference, and finally, what is necessary to ensure that R&D results are utilized in the field,” added Wu.
While the DOT has not yet issued an official strategic plan around these goals, they are already reflected in DOT policy.  For example, the priorities are reflected in the selection criteria for TIGER Discretionary Grants, a DOT-wide Livability Initiative, and a joint DOT-HUD task force to guide the development of sustainable communities.
The annual budget for surface transportation research, development, and technology transfer activities at DOT is over half a billion dollars per year.
Specifically, the witness testimony from today’s hearing will contribute to the reauthorization of the surface transportation bill, H.R. 2569. This legislation, which was introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Wu, reauthorizes surface transportation research, development, and technology transfer activities.
For more information, visit the Committee’s website.


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