Menendez, Booker Lead NJ Delegation Call to Designate Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) as Regional University Transportation Center

Menendez, Booker Lead NJ Delegation Call to Designate Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) as Regional University Transportation Center

Designation Would Support Cutting-Edge Research into Safer, Longer-Lasting Infrastructure

   

NEWARK, N.J. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) led a letter from the entire New Jersey congressional delegation urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to designate Rutgers University Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) a Regional University Transportation Center (Federal Region 2).  As a recognized leader in bridge safety testing, highway construction and planning, and transportation research and technology, this designation would provide new investment in the Center’s work in developing solutions to the infrastructure challenges facing the northeast and the nation.

In its letter to Dr. Kevin Womack, Director of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Research, Development, and Technology, the delegation underscored CAIT’s work leading a consortium of universities throughout the northeast United States and Puerto Rico on cutting-edge research, writing:  “Joining forces with these research institutions will enhance Rutgers’ ability to respond to our mounting infrastructure challenges.”

 “As the Administration and Congress seek to meet these challenges head-on, CAIT’s work will help to better protect and direct investments in our infrastructure,” they added.

Joining Senators Menendez and Booker in their letter express were U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.-02), Tom MacArthur (N.J.-03), Chris Smith (N.J.-04), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.-05), Frank Pallone, Jr. (N.J.-06), Leonard Lance (N.J.-07), Albio Sires (N.J.-08), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09), Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.-11), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.-12).

The Department of Transportation’s Regional University Transportation Center grant is a five-year designation that would provide Rutgers and its partners with $2.57 million in the first year of the grant; up to $2.85 million in both the second and third year of the grant; and up to $2.95 million in both the fourth and fifth years of the grant. These investments would support the consortium’s mission of advancing safer, longer-lasting infrastructure and helping to confront the nation’s state of good repair backlog.  

A copy of the letter is available here and pasted below.

September 7, 2017

Kevin C. Womack, Ph.D., F.ASCE

Director, Office of Research, Development and Technology

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20590

Dear Director Womack:

We write to you to express our support for the proposal led by the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) at Rutgers University for a Regional University Transportation Center in Federal Region 2.  CAIT leads a diverse group of institutions of higher education with the aim of improving the durability and extending the life of our transportation infrastructure. 

For this regional proposal, CAIT is collaborating with a diverse consortium of universities in the northeast and Puerto Rico, including Princeton University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Atlantic Cape Community College, Rowan University, Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, Columbia University, Cornell University, Farmingdale State College, and the University at Buffalo.  Joining forces with these research institutions will enhance Rutgers’ ability to respond to our mounting infrastructure challenges. As the Administration and Congress seek to meet these challenges head-on, CAIT’s work will help to better protect and direct investments in our infrastructure.

CAIT’s research advances these goals through its use of innovative technologies and practices to expedite construction and to increase the durability and safety of highways and bridges.  CAIT has a long track record of providing solutions to complex transportation problems, such as their work on the Federal Highway Administration’s Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) program, which CAIT has led since 2008.  CAIT researchers, as a part of the LTBP, helped develop the RABIT bridge deck assessment tool to allow bridge managers and engineers to easily identify the anticipated future condition concerns of a bridge deck. 

CAIT has been recognized as a leader for infrastructure innovation; in 2014 the RABIT received the ASCE Pankow Award for Innovation, and in 2016 their THMPER device won them the award for an unprecedented second time.  THMPER can test a 100-foot three-lane bridge in about 45 minutes, and evaluate an estimated 300-plus bridges per year at about 25 percent the cost of current testing methods. CAIT’s research has been recognized and implemented across the industry, providing quantitative information that will directly support decisions and cost-effective practices to maintain the durability of the Nation’s infrastructure.

Through its previous iteration as a National University Transportation Center, CAIT unveiled the bridge evaluation and accelerated structural testing (BEAST) facility to study future performance and lifespan of materials and elements for aging highway bridges.  BEAST uniquely subjects full-scale bridge deck systems to extreme traffic loading and rapid-cycle environmental changes in a controlled environment to advance aging by as much as 30 times, making it possible to simulate 15 to 20 years of wear-and-tear in just a few months.  The facility is a critical component to understanding the durability of our nation’s bridges. 

For 19 years CAIT has consistently fulfilled its mission of advancing transportation research, education, and technology.  Its selection to lead a Regional University Transportation Center will make their continued innovative research possible, and we urge you to give all due consideration to this proposal.

Sincerely,

 

 

_________________________                            _________________________

Robert Menendez                                                    Cory A. Booker

United States Senator                                             United States Senator

 

_________________________                            _________________________

Bill Pascrell, Jr.                                                         Frank Pallone, Jr.

Member of Congress                                              Member of Congress

 

_________________________                            _________________________

Josh Gottheimer                                                       Donald Norcross

Member of Congress                                              Member of Congress

 

_________________________                            _________________________

Donald M. Payne, Jr.                                               Bonnie Watson Coleman

Member of Congress                                              Member of Congress

 

_________________________                            _________________________

Albio Sires                                                                 Tom MacArthur

Member of Congress                                              Member of Congress

 

_________________________                            _________________________

Frank A. LoBiondo                                                  Leonard Lance

Member of Congress                                              Member of Congress

 

_________________________                            _________________________

Rodney Frelinghuysen                                           Christopher H. Smith

Member of Congress                                              Member of Congress

 

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