The University of Oklahoma will lead a regional transportation effort funded by at $2.6 million U.S. Transportation Department grant, the university said Tuesday.
“Becoming a regional transportation center presents a great opportunity to OU to become an even stronger leader in the field,” OU President David L. Boren said.
The Southern Plains Regional Transportation Center consortium also includes Oklahoma State University, Langston University, the University of Arkansas, the University of New Mexico, Louisiana Tech University, the University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Tech University.
“The center will address the most challenging issues of both the Federal Highway Administration and State Transportation Agencies,” said Paul Tikalsky, dean of the college of engineering, architecture and technology at OSU. “The commercial, agricultural and energy transportation corridors in the southern plains keep our nation's economy moving forward. OSU is proud to be a partner in this consortium.”
The two-year grant is designed to boost domestic technology and expertise in transportation issues.
The grant includes an option for renewal after the initial two-year period.
The grant also is designed to address the challenges severe weather poses to the region's transportation infrastructure. Musharraf Zaman, OU Civil Engineering professor and Southern Plains Regional Transportation Center director, said the economic losses caused only by recent severe droughts has produced losses of almost $9 billion annually in Oklahoma and Texas.