Local Leaders Pledge $90 Million to New Transportation Technology Fund
In March, Columbus was announced as one of seven finalists eligible for a $40 million federal transportation grant known as the “Smart City Challenge”, which would be applied to implementing new transit technologies in the region. Last week, local leaders made their case for that funding in front of US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx during a special event at the Lincoln Theatre. Today, that same group of local leaders announced that they’re collectively pledging $90 million in matching resources toward the “Smart Columbus Acceleration Fund” as a leveraging tool to help win the federal grant, and increase the effectiveness of the money if it can be secured by the city.
The announcement was made today to coincide with the city’s submission of the application for the federal grant.
“I am so pleased with our team and our partners for all of their hard work over the past several months in preparing the final application,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther. “The Acceleration Fund is a testament to ‘The Columbus Way’ of collaboration between public and private partnerships. The Columbus Partnership, under the leadership of Alex Fischer, has been key in engaging the private sector and relevant industry experts in our bringing the business community on board with the Smart Columbus vision.”
The Columbus application includes five main components:
- A circulator service of autonomous/driverless vehicles, which would help shuttle Easton-area employees to and from the Easton Transit Center, served by COTA.2
- Improved customer kiosks, broadband access and and “smart intersections” to complement the Cleveland Avenue CMAX BRT line, which is expected to launch in 2017.
- A new system of real-time event, transit, traffic and parking information for Columbus visitors.
- The creation of a smartphone or pass-based payment systems for all local transportation systems.
- The expansion of the city’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and the conversion of city vehicles to electric vehicles.
“The Acceleration Fund is an aggregation of the relevant industry expertise and resources that demonstrate Columbus’ commitment to the Mayor’s vision and to our ability to lead America in deploying the next generation of smart transportation technologies,” said Fischer. “The Partnership’s number one priority is to drive economic prosperity for all of Columbus, and that is why this opportunity is so exciting to us.”
The winning city will be announced in late June.
For more information, visit columbus.gov/smartcity/.