Portman, Brown, Ohio Delegation Praise $7.5 Million DOT Grant for ODOT, TRC, OSU, and DriveOhio to Test and Deploy Automatic Driving System Technology in Ohio

September 10, 2019 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with the entire Ohio delegation in the House of Representatives, praised the announcement that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $7.5 million Automatic Driving System (ADS) Demonstration grant to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and its consortium, which includes the Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC), The Ohio State University, and DriveOhio. ODOT and this consortium, in partnership with the University of Cincinnati, the City of Youngstown, and the City of Athens, plan to develop a statewide demonstration plan to test and deploy ADS technology. Through this demonstration plan, the partnership will better integrate rural, suburban, and urban environments into the larger statewide transportation technology ecosystem. ADS Demonstration grants aim to gather significant safety data to inform rulemaking, foster collaboration amongst state and local government and private partners, and test the safe integration of ADS on our nation’s roads.  

This is great news for Ohio and will help ensure that the state’s transportation technology ecosystem becomes a model for the country.  I applaud Secretary Chao for providing Ohio with the resources to invest in a statewide demonstration plan,” said Portman. “The Transportation Research Center is playing a big role in helping Central Ohio to become a leader in using smart transportation to help create economic growth and expand opportunity, and now they’ll be able to work in partnership with ODOT, The Ohio State University, and DriveOhio to expand what they’ve learned in Central Ohio to the rest of the state. During my visit in August, I was pleased to see how the SMARTCenter will be testing vehicles in a safe and secure, real-world environment before they are used on public roads and highways. I look forward to seeing how this partnership benefits communities across Ohio.  I will continue to work with ODOT, TRC, The Ohio State University, and DriveOhio to make sure they achieve their goals.” 

“These funds will help keep Ohio at the forefront of research and innovation,” said Brown. “Developing and integrating emerging transportation technologies now will allow us to invest in our infrastructure for generations to come. 

NOTE: On March 21, 2019, Portman, Brown, and the entire Ohio delegation – including Reps. Troy Balderson (R-OH), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Jim Jordan (R-OH), David Joyce (R-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Bob Latta (R-OH), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Mike Turner (R-OH), and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) – sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao in support of ODOT’s application for this grant.  

On August 28, Portman visited 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.  In 2018, Portman and the Ohio delegation successfully worked with Secretary 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.