Clinton to seek $1.2 billion for DOT R& D

Transportation Department Secretary Rodney Slater announced Monday that President Clinton's 2001 budget request will include a 35 percent increase in funding for transportation research and development.

President Clinton will ask for $1.2 billion for transportation R&D, Slater said during remarks at the annual Transportation Research Board meeting in Washington, D.C.

The investment would mean an 80 percent increase for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a 60 percent increase for Intelligent Transportation Systems and a 34 percent increase for surface transportation research, Slater said.

"Even if we do not always know specifically what their transportation applications will be, we need to do more to develop enabling technologies, such as modeling, telecommunications, high-end computing and nanotechnologies," Slater said.

The agency needs to develop new ways to attract venture capital to develop and deploy innovative technologies, and it must build partnerships within government, industry and educational organizations, he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration's Free Flight program is one example of the type of partnership Slater referenced. The FAA will deploy new technologies under the program, and industry has been charged with measuring the benefits, said Jane Garvey, FAA administrator. Free Flight eventually will provide pilots with enough information to choose more efficient flight paths without involvement from ground controllers.

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