NSF ASPIRE Research Center Granted $2.1 Million in Ongoing Funding
The Utah State Legislature granted the ASPIRE Engineering Research Center at Utah State University $2.1 million in ongoing funding to serve as Uta’s lead research center for strategic planning for electrified transportation.
Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification (ASPIRE), a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, conducts research to pave the way for real-world deployment of electrified transportation systems. Utah Senate Bill 125, Transportation Infrastructure Amendments, was passed during the 2023 legislative session earlier this year. It provides the center with funding to facilitate the strategic planning and development initiative that will guide the transition to an electrified and intelligent system in the state.
“This policy is to facilitate the development of a long-range strategic plan that will guide the development of an integrated, fully electric, transportation system in the state of Utah,” said Senator Chris Wilson of Logan, who co-sponsored the bill with Representative Jefferson Moss of Salt Lake City. “We are excited to move this partnership forward and grateful for all the work ASPIRE does.”
The center will provide annual reports and briefs with actionable goals to policymakers that detail the vision for electrified transportation systems in Utah, and an analysis of how each of the industries involved must change to realize the vision. The Utah Electrification of Transportation Infrastructure Steering Committee, formed after the passing of SB125, met for the first time on June 2.
The group is tasked with guiding Utah to an electric future with infrastructure that is both sustainable and economical. It is made up of representatives from state transportation, transit, environmental quality, energy, industry, university and economic development officers.
ASPIRE is made up of eight main campus partners, with additional research, industry and innovation partners contributing to ongoing projects. Research grants from the U.S. departments of Energy and Transportation also assist ASPIRE with achieving its longstanding goal of electrified transportation.
In 2019, the state provided $3 million in one-time funding to support ASPIRE’s launch, and since that time ASPIRE has raised $58.9 million in federal and industry research support, with an additional $24.6 million expected from NSF in 2025.
“We need tomorrow’s technologies to do this thing right,” said Regan Zane, director of the ASPIRE. “Now is the time to inject innovation into developing the future vision of our communities and transportation systems. This will inform critical decisions today on infrastructure investments to accelerate our path to clean air and a reduced cost to move people and goods.”
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