Kansas DOT Unveils Transportation Technology Program
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The Kansas Department of Transportation recently launched a new program to support projects that use technology to improve mobility and safety.
The Innovative Technology Program, announced on August 20, provides financial assistance to entities pursuing projects to update transportation technology, improve mobility and promote safety. Participating projects can include all modes of transport, including road networks, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), rail, alternative fuels, public transport and cycling facilities.
Some $ 3 million per fiscal year will be made available to applicants. The application window, which opened on August 17, ends on September 18.
“As a leader in UAS, it is important that we implement new technologies safely,” said Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz. “This program will help rural and urban areas of the state improve the transportation system.”
Drone operations have been actively explored in the Kansas City area. The Mid-America Regional Council, which represents the nine-county metro area of Kansas City, released its regional policy framework for unmanned aircraft systems in September 2018. As part, the council outlines steps for forming partnerships with various agencies, collect data on local concerns. and develop a drone user manual.
Local government units will administer Innovative Technology Program projects, and no individual project will receive more than $ 1 million per cycle. The program requires a minimum of 25% non-state cash matching, although additional consideration will be given to requests that incur more than the minimum match amount. Applications from non-governmental organizations will also be considered.
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According to the KDOT, candidate projects may receive additional consideration if they support economic growth or help in business retention. Geographical distribution will also be taken into account. The winning projects will be announced before the end of October.
Voters had the opportunity to discuss transportation priorities at a series of town halls held last fall. Local consultation meetings, held in various regions in October and November, allowed people to raise transportation issues and shape the state’s 10-year transportation agenda.
“Citizens at local consultation meetings across the state last year stressed the need for technological opportunities to better position Kansas for the future,” Lorenz said.
The Innovative Technology Program was created as part of KDOT’s Eisenhower Transportation Legacy program, known as IKE. Established in March, IKE is a 10-year program whereby highway modernization and extension projects are selected on a rolling basis every two years to meet urgent needs and adapt to fluctuations in income. . (President Dwight Eisenhower, the program’s namesake, was raised in Abilene, Kan.)
Over 2,000 voters participated in local meetings to shape the IKE program. Key features include investments in broadband and new technologies and a continued commitment to multimodal transport. In May, Lorenz and Governor Laura Kelly announced the start of preliminary engineering work on 40 highway projects under the IKE program.
Kelly, who was elected governor in 2018, allowed $ 216 million in sales tax revenue to remain in the state road fund in fiscal year 2020. This fund has enabled KDOT to run several programs. to strengthen infrastructure projects.
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