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University Transportation Center (UTC)

University Transportation Center (UTC)

Funding Level: $76,700,000

Authorized under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act:  A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the University Transportation Centers (UTC) Program advances U.S. technology and expertise in the many disciplines comprising transportation through the mechanisms of education, research and technology transfer at university-based centers of excellence.

The UTC Program is a Congressionally mandated financial-assistance program to support transportation education, research and technology transfer activities at university-based centers.  Under the program, UTCs receive grant funds from DOT to educate the future transportation workforce and to conduct research to advance the field of transportation.  UTC grant funds require grantees to provide a dollar-for-dollar match on the Federal funds (with the exception of eight UTCs that Congress exempted from this requirement), thus doubling DOT’s investment in transportation research and education.

In FY 2006, the UTC Program awarded funding to 60 grantees.  Ten were at institutions that won a 1999 open competition, ten were at institutions that won a 2002 limited competition required by TEA-21, and 40 were at institutions designated in SAFETEA-LU.  The amount of each grant is specified in the UTC Program’s authorizing legislation.

FY 2007 funding will be awarded to the 10 Regional and 10 Tier 1 UTCs that were selected during the Congressionally mandated competition in FY 2006, as well as the 40 UTCs designated in SAFETEA-LU.

In FY 2008, RITA is directed in SAFETEA-LU to use $76,700,000 for awards to the UTCs and to perform certain required program-coordination functions such as operating a clearinghouse for UTC research.  UTC Program funding is provided to RITA through reimbursable agreements with the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. 

Success is measured by the number of students graduating with transportation-related advanced degrees from universities funded under the UTC program.