Good afternoon Chairwoman Stevens. Thank you for convening today’s hearing to examine the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) surface transportation research, development and technology activities.
All of us on this Committee are aware of the issues with our nation’s infrastructure – I see it regularly on my drives between Greencastle and D.C. – and the anticipated costs of its restoration.
To effectively address these challenges, we must support and maintain a healthy, substantive research agenda that informs our state and local transportation initiatives.
The research and development activities supported by the DOT are vital to the nation’s prosperity – they strengthen critical infrastructure, enhance our economic competitiveness, and enrich our way of life.
In 2019, DOT will sponsor more than $1 billion in research, development, and technology deployment activities, with the majority focused on surface modes of transportation.
Advancements in materials and technology can help achieve long-term cost savings by reducing congestion and improving the durability and lifespan of transportation projects.
Today’s hearing will be an opportunity for this Committee to examine our nation’s research, development and technology priorities and to learn more about important policy issues for the future of surface transportation.
It will also provide a chance to hear about research being conducted by universities and the private sector and how these advances are being utilized by state and local governments.
I am glad to welcome Dr. Darcy Bullock, from my home state of Indiana, who will talk about the work of the Joint Transpiration Research Program (JTRP). JTRP is facilitating public-private partnerships among public agencies, academia and industry to conduct research and testing, that is solving real world transportation problems in Indiana and across the nation.
The innovative research and new knowledge generated by JTRP has saved billions of dollars and thousands of lives in Indiana and the United States.
For example, JTRP developed traffic signal performance measures that have been integrated into almost every new traffic signal control systems in the United States.
These “Purdue Performance Measures” allow agency personnel to assess the quality of traffic signal performance, including identifying locations with high volume of red light running, and adjust accordingly to keep our roads safe and running as smoothly as possible.
The work done at JTRP is a great example of how science can yield solutions.
It shows how efficient, targeted R&D can help develop new innovative ideas and technologies that will make our transportation systems safer.
Today’s hearing is the first step for this Committee in considering and developing the next reauthorization of federal surface transportation research, development and technology programs.
As we move through this process, this Committee must ask difficult questions to determine how best to address the issues facing our aging infrastructure within the limitations of our current budget environment.
I hope today’s hearing will help us guide DOT to set R&D priorities and chart a course for a strategic plan that will address our nation’s most urgent transportation needs.
I would like to thank all our witnesses for coming today and sharing your thoughts on how to improve our transportation networks and research activities.
Thank you and I yield back the balance of my time.