FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State is embarking on new territory with the opening of the universities Transportation Institute showcases. The institute is a creative private and public partnership between the university, Fresno Council of Governments, and the Fresno County Transportation Authority.
"We do not want to be copying other technologies, other solutions in other places because our situation is different," said Founding Director of the Transportation Institute Aly Tawfik.
Citing the country's unique challenges, Tawfik said there are issues we need to tackle and solve ourselves.
"We have one of the worst air qualities in the nation; we have the High-Speed Rail line station, and hopefully maintenance yard."
Add heavy freight traffic and dwindling manpower and resources in the 15 cities of Fresno County.
Nearly $3-million from the Measure C New Technology Reserve Program was designated to the Transportation Institute over the next five years. The development of the program was to address advances in technology and transportation.
"We really don't know 20 years from now what transportation is going to need," said Mike Leonardo with the Fresno County Transportation Authority.
Originally approved in 1986, then renewed in 2006, Measure C was designed to address Fresno County's infrastructure needs. The half cent countywide sales tax generates revenue for improving roadways and enhancing public safety.
Technology reserve funds are aimed at innovation. Though some graduates may not stay in Fresno County or the region, the board still considers it a win-win.
"Research in finding ways to make transportation more efficient, better air quality, those are tangible benefits whether the students stay here after the program or they go somewhere," said Leonardo.
The county has about half a dozen applications for the money ranging from electric transportation options to upgrading engines to lower emissions totaling in $5-million this cycle.
Measure C will be up for renewal in 10 years.