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Sept. 26 — About $15 million in federal grants will be made available to cities across the country seeking to update their transportation systems, the White House announced.
Among other projects, the funding will be used to help National Science Foundation researchers in Chattanooga, Tenn., conduct the first test to see if an entire urban network of connected and self-driving cars can operate safely during severe weather events and improve travel efficiency.
The transportation grants are part of $80 million in new funding announced Sept. 26 for the administration's “Smart Cities Initiative.” The year-old initiative is intended to create a pathway for cities, federal agencies, universities and the private sector to work together to test and deploy new technologies.
“If we can reconceive of our government so that the interactions and the interplay between the private sector, nonprofits and government are opened up, and we use technology, data, social media in order to join forces around problems, then there's no problem that we face in this country that is not soluble,” President Barack Obama said of the initiative in March, as quoted by the White House in the Sept. 26 announcement.
In addition to the $15 million in transportation grants, other funding announced Sept. 26 for the initiative includes money to help cities address energy and climate challenges, and to boost public safety and disaster response. The White House said it expects the new money will help it double the number of cities participating in the initiative to more than 70.
In June, the Department of Transportation selected Columbus, Ohio, from a pool of 78 cities to receive $40 million to pilot technologies like connected vehicles (See previous story, 06/24/16).
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A fact sheet about the $80 million in new funding is here: http://src.bna.com/iSR .
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