Congress’ passage of a new transportation bill last week means the University of Missouri-Rolla’s University Transportation Center (UTC) will receive $16 million over the next five years to research critical national transportation issues.
The research center is one of 10 in the nation to receive “national” status under the transportation bill, passed July 29 by Congress. The new status means more support for the center, which was established in 1998 to build on the campus’ infrastructure engineering programs.
Researchers at UMR’s UTC conduct research into non-destructive testing technologies and lightweight materials for strengthening bridges, roads and buildings. The UTC is closely aligned with another research initiative at the campus: the UMR Center for Infrastructure Engineering Studies, which provides research expertise in the areas of building and civil infrastructure, such as roads and bridges; power infrastructure, such as electric power; and infrastructure management.
Both the CIES and the University Transportation Center are under the direction of Dr. Antonio Nanni, the Vernon and Maralee Jones Professor of Civil Engineering at UMR and an expert in non-destructive testing and advanced materials.
“We are indebted to Sen. Kit Bond and his staff for the vision and the hard work in securing these funds for our Institution and the state of Missouri,” Nanni says. “In partnership with our state department of transportation, we envision tackling critical challenges and providing key results for the citizens of Missouri and the nation. We will place even more emphasis on tangible and measurable results in terms of both research and development, and technology transfer. We also envision taking a more active role in activities related to security, as this issue has come to the forefront of society, not only in this country but worldwide.”
Other UTCs selected for the additional funding are based at the University of Alaska, Marshall University, University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, Oklahoma Transportation Center, Portland State University, University of Vermont, Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University and University of Wisconsin.