Unique partnership to focus on transportation and economic development in three-state region

HUNTINGTON – The kickoff meeting of the Multimodal Transportation and Infrastructure Consortium (MTIC), led by the Rahall Transportation Institute at Marshall University, began today at the RTI offices.

The consortium, which comprises transportation research centers from Marshall, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville and Hampton University, will focus on innovations in multimodal freight and passenger transportation systems and infrastructure designed to encourage economic development.

The consortium in January 2012 received a $3.5 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall said the consortium will meet the demands of a tighter national budget and of a multi-state region’s transportation needs.

“RTI has grown and developed successfully with a broad vision of building jobs through transportation. This new partnership can yield further returns across a broader region and for the nation,” said Rahall, top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “A nation’s economy is only as strong as its infrastructure. The research, training and tech transfer MTIC will tackle not only assist in maintaining our transportation systems in good order, but help the country meet our next generation of transportation challenges and opportunities.”

Robert H. Plymale, RTI’s director and CEO, said the consortium brings a national perspective to university transportation center research. “MTIC is the only one out of only a handful of transportation research centers in the nation that will be focusing on intermodal and multimodal transportation as it relates to economic development,” Plymale said. “We are bringing together invaluable expertise and practical experience from these four universities to help our region and our nation determine what transportation can do to promote commerce.”

Joe Crabtree, director of the University of KTC Test Site, said, “We are excited to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with our partners at Marshall University, the University of Louisville, and Hampton University to address the critical transportation issues facing our region and our nation. It is essential that we make the best possible use of all our transportation modes in order to ensure our future safety, economic vitality, and economic competitiveness.”

Dr. J. P. Mohsen, professor and chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Louisville and director of Louisville’s Center for Transportation Innovation (CTI), said he is excited about being part of the new consortium.

“CTI’s decade-long involvement with the University of KTC Test Site has demonstrated the synergy that is created when universities collaborate to tackle large scale transportation problems,” Mohsen said. “Along with Marshall University and Hampton University, as well as UK, we at the University of Louisville are now poised to make major contributions to the regional and national issues that relate to our waterways and their economic development potential.”

Today’s meeting of representatives from each of the four university’s transportation centers covers topics ranging from workforce development to creation of committees and reporting requirements for the grant. This is the first full meeting of the group since the grant was awarded in January, Plymale said.

More specific information about research being undertaken, goals and future meetings of MTIC will be available on the consortium’s web site, www.mticutc.org, as the group progresses in the coming months. A video report on today’s meeting is available for use by the media at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQRnkVnM‐T4.