In East Liberty, Portman Continues his Three-Day ‘Results Tour,’ Visits the Transportation Research Center

The Three-Day Tour Covers 11 Counties, More Than 630 Miles Highlighting Accomplishments that are Making a Difference for Ohio Workers, Families, and Communities

August 28, 2019 | Press Releases

EAST LIBERTY, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) visited the Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) – the largest and most sophisticated independent vehicle proving ground in North America – where he saw firsthand how TRC Ohio has become a global leader in advancing new automotive technologies. As part of his three-day ‘Results Tour,’ Portman toured TRC’s new SMARTCenter --  a 540-acre, state-of-the-art automated and connected vehicle-testing facility.

“The Transportation Research Center is playing a big role in helping Central Ohio become a model for the rest of the country on how to use smart transportation to help create economic growth and expand opportunity,” said Portman.  “I was pleased to see firsthand how the SMARTCenter will be testing vehicles in a safe, secure, and repeatable real-world environment before the vehicles are used on public roads and highways. Last year I worked with the Secretary of Transportation to protect TRC Ohio and ensure it has a level playing field when pursuing partnership and funding opportunities.  I will continue to work with TRC, and the OSU Center for Automotive Research in the future to make sure they achieve their goals.” 

NOTE: In 2018, Portman successfully worked with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to change the Obama administration’s automated vehicle policy, which would have placed Ohio TRC at a competitive disadvantage for certain partnership and funding opportunities that are important to the development of safe and effective regulations for this emerging technology.  Portman had been advocating for the change, including sending a letter with his Ohio delegation colleagues urging Secretary Chao to change the previous administration’s policy.   

In January 2017, Portman commended the announcement that the State of Ohio and Ohio State planned to invest $45 million at the Transportation Research Center. This investment builds on the Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge won by Columbus in June of 2016, which Portman was instrumental in helping secure.  In addition, Portman worked to protect the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing center in East Liberty by urging the General Services Administration (GSA) to keep its facility there after plans had been made to change locations. Following Portman’s letter, the GSA announced that the location would stay. Portman visited TRC in February of 2017.  

Traveling more than 630 miles across Ohio over three days, Portman is seeing firsthand how his efforts at the federal level are helping Ohio workers, farmers, small businesses, and communities.  He has participated in events highlighting how tax reform is helping our economy and how federal funding he helped secure to fight the drug epidemic is being used to save lives. Portman is also visiting Ohio military installations to see how funding he helped secure is creating jobs and strengthening our national defense. Finally, he will visit with farmers in Northwest Ohio to highlight his efforts to help address recent flooding as well as to see how Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding he fought to preserve is being used to improve and preserve the health of Lake Erie.   

Photos from the visit are below: