WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) visited the Idea Foundry in Columbus, a community workspace that promotes innovation and encourages entrepreneurship. During his visit, Portman received an update on how Columbus plans to use funding from its Smart Cities grant. He released the following statement:

“This community workspace at the Idea Foundry is a great example of how to help entrepreneurs fulfill their dream, and I’m excited about the plans I heard here today about our efforts to make Columbus and the surrounding region a global leader in smart transportation.  Central Ohio is quickly becoming a model for the nation on how to use smart, 21st-century transportation to help create economic growth and expand opportunity—as evidenced by Columbus winning the Smart Cities award.  This funding will help improve people’s quality of life, drive economic growth, and provide better access to jobs and ladders of opportunity to help lift people out of poverty.”

NOTE: Portman took a leadership role in helping the city of Columbus secure the Smart Cities grant, which the city won in June of 2016.  In April, Portman hosted U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for a visit to the Transportation Research Center (TRC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) in East Liberty.  Secretary Chao saw firsthand how TRC Ohio has become a global leader in autonomous vehicle research development.

This facility has significant importance to Senator Portman because he worked to protect the NHTSA testing center 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. 

Following are photos of today’s tour and event: