In June, the US. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that Columbus had won the Smart City Challenge. Columbus was one of the seven finalists from an original group of 78 cities. As the winner, Columbus will receive up to $40 million from DOT, an additional $10 million from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan, Inc.and $90 million in locally generated matching contributions and public money totaling $140 million.
DOT Secretary Foxx commented about Columbus’ proposal:
Columbus’ proposal puts people first. They plan to install street-side mobility kiosks, a new bus-rapid transit system, and smart lighting to increase safety for pedestrians and improve access to healthcare for traditionally underserved areas and neighborhoods. They plan to install traffic signals that communicate with vehicles so that the signals can adjust in real-time to the flow, rhythm, and demands of traffic. And in a clear demonstration of their dedication to solving problems for their most vulnerable residents, one of the ways that the city plans to measure the connectivity of their transportation infrastructure is by linking it to the infant mortality rate.
Transportation is a topic of considerable interest lately. It was the topic of UAPA’s May 31st meeting held in conjunction with the Franklin County Young Democrats at the UA Public Library. It was also one of the items discussed by Columbus mayor Andy Ginther at the June Third Friday Luncheon only days before Columbus was announced as the winner of the Challenge. Third Friday luncheons are held monthly at The Boat House.