U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced the first round of grants totaling over $94 million for 59 projects across the country through the new Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program. The competitive grant program, established by President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides State, local, and Tribal governments $500 million over five years to leverage technology to create safer, more equitable, efficient, and innovative transportation systems.
“Every major advancement in the history of U.S. transportation has involved technological progress,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The investments we are making today are about fostering innovations that improve people’s day-to-day lives, making transportation safer, more reliable, more efficient, and more sustainable.”
The funding will support a diverse array of topics and communities. For example, sensor deployments will enable new data collection and operational approaches, ranging from a flood warning system in Harris County, Texas, to crash detection in Nashville, to improved safety at Seattle’s at-grade rail crossings. In addition, Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) projects will leverage innovative aviation technology for infrastructure inspections in Alaska, California, and Kansas, as well as medical package deliveries along Virginia’s Eastern Shore and in the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. Elsewhere, the Michigan Department of Transportation and Whatcom Council of Governments will integrate sensors and data to facilitate commerce at international border crossings, strengthening supply chains, reducing delays, and minimizing congestion impacts in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.
The first year of the program was oversubscribed with $6 of applications for every $1 available for grants. “We are thrilled to see the interest in SMART during its inaugural year. This shows the important role this new program can play in helping support State, local, and Tribal efforts to advance technology applications,” said Dr. Robert C. Hampshire, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and Chief Science Officer.
This year’s awardees will build internal teams and partnerships as they refine their concepts, focus on technology procurement and demonstration, develop labor and workforce roadmaps, and position their projects for impact in their communities.
The full list of awards totaling $94,783,781 can be viewed at the Department of Transportation. The maximum award per project was $2,000,000 for this round of funding. The next funding opportunity of $100 million is expected to be released Fall, 2023.