Lucas Welcomes $39 Million EDA Investment Advancing Aerial Mobility Technology in Northeast Oklahoma

Sep 02, 2022
Economy

Cheyenne, OK – This morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility (TRAM) Corridor as one of 21 winners of the $1 billion EDA Regional Challenge. The EDA’s Regional Challenge awarded approximately $39 million in grants to the TRAM Corridor, led by the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) and Oklahoma State University (OSU), to advance aerial mobility technology in northeast Oklahoma.

“Oklahoma has a proud and longstanding history in aviation, aerial mobility technology, and manufacturing, which has allowed northeast Oklahoma to harness the region’s innovative capabilities and lead in the development of next-generation unmanned aerial systems,” said Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03). “The Economic Development Administration’s $39 million award is a welcome and exciting investment that will cement Oklahoma as a hub of transformational aerial mobility research and development. I commend the work of INCOG, Oklahoma State University, the Osage Nation, the City of Tulsa, and all other regional stakeholders who have forged a pioneering vision for the future of unmanned aerial technologies and manufacturing in Oklahoma. By investing in this critical industry, and our local and state economies, we will continue to increase America’s technological competitiveness across the globe.”

“The Economic Development Administration is proud to support the bold vision of the TRAM Corridor,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment diversifies the Tulsa regional economy to create new opportunities for innovation, leading to good-paying jobs and a resilient economy.”

EDA funding will invest in key assets, enabling the region to compete in a rapidly growing advanced mobility, automation, and unmanned aerial systems industry. Oklahoma State University (OSU) will partner with the Osage Nation to stand up a 114-nautical mile “beyond visual line-of-sight” flight test range for advanced aerial mobility technologies. OSU will also establish the LaunchPad Research and Technology Center in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood to increase research capacity for established firms and potential entrepreneurs. 

“Quality partnerships open the door to new possibilities,” OSU President Kayse Shrum said. “Oklahoma State University has seen incredible success in other Tulsa-area partnerships, and we’re delighted to be a key stakeholder in this coalition. OSU is the state’s leader in aerospace and aviation, with specialized infrastructure dedicated to the research and design of unmanned systems. As a land-grant university, we’re committed to using research to address society’s most pressing problems, empowering Oklahoma’s workforce and providing access to a quality education. This partnership will improve life for Oklahomans in tangible ways. The benefits will expand beyond our borders and will have an influence on the nation and more importantly, the future.”

“This is a game changer for Oklahoma and OSU. While Oklahoma is already a leader in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), this grant will provide new capabilities, expanding OSU’s role in AAM and attracting new companies and projects to the state,” said Dr. Jamey Jacob, Director of the OSU Unmanned Systems Research Institute. “This award, the first for OSU’s new Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE), exemplifies and cements OSU’s leadership position in aerospace and aviation at the state and national levels.”

In March, Lucas led a letter of support of the TRAM project in partnership with INCOG and OSU. 

Additionally, the EDA awarded a $35 million grant to the  Oklahoma Biotech Innovation Cluster, led by the Oklahoma City Economic Development Foundation, to expand the biotechnology industry in the Oklahoma City region.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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