The University of Alabama receives $16.5M for transportation innovation hub

A Rendering Of The Future Smart Communities And Innovation Building. Photo Via University Of Alabama
A rendering of the future Smart Communities and Innovation Building. Photo via The University of Alabama

Innovation alert! The University of Alabama (UA) just received over $16.5M in state-issued bonds to start work on the AMP initiative, which will fulfill critical research and workforce needs in West Alabama’s booming electric vehicle market. Keep reading for more on the project.

The latest step forward

The University Of Alabama Just Got A $12.5M Grant For Sustainable Transportation. Photo Via University Of Alabama
The University of Alabama just got a $16.5M grant for sustainable transportation. Photo via The University of Alabama

On Friday, July 23, Governor Kay Ivey announced that $16.5M of bonds from the Alabama Public School and College Authority would allow for the construction of a Smart Communities and Innovation Building on The University of Alabama’s campus.

The Smart Communities and Innovation Building will house the Alabama Mobility and Power (AMP) initiative. The initiative is designed to meet the needs of the booming electric vehicle market and support Alabama’s transportation network. AMP will also strengthen UA’s long-standing partnerships with Alabama Power and Mercedes-Benz US International.

“We are deeply grateful to Gov. Ivey and our state elected officials for their leadership in boosting the University’s existing expertise and research innovation in the area of transportation, and are truly appreciative for support from the Board of Trustees and the UA System Office in moving this transformative project forward. The Smart Communities and Innovation Building will be the only one of its kind in the United States and is a prime example of the type of partnerships necessary for innovation and workforce and economic development.”

-Dr. Stuart Bell, President, University of Alabama

More on the project

The Smart Communities And Innovations Building Will Go In The Current Alabama Transportation Center. Photo Via University Of Alabama
The Smart Communities and Innovations Building will go in the current Alabama Transportation Center. Photo via University of Alabama

The Smart Communities and Innovations Building will be on the northeast side of The University of Alabama’s campus. The building is currently called the Alabama Transportation Center. Over 65,000 square feet will be dedicated to transportation in the renovated building.

The AMP Initiative will specifically serve as a research and development hub for:

  • Creating modern mobility technologies
  • Sustaining power technologies
  • Developing charging infrastructure
  • Manging power delivery to support large-scale growth in electric vehicles

This new building will increase research opportunities on UA’s campus. Expanded mentoring, internships and career possibilities will be available through AMP. These relevant experiences will be critical to the expansion of Alabama’s sustainable transportation workforce.

The future of sustainable transportation in Alabama

This Is Big News For Sustainable Transportation In Alabama! Photo Via University Of Alabama
This is big news for sustainable transportation in Alabama! Photo via The University of Alabama

Today, Alabama ranks third in the nation for auto exports. $7.5 billion in car exports came from Alabama in 2018 alone. Employment in Alabama’s auto sector now exceeds 40,000, and it’s a major source of jobs statewide. This newest investment will assist in the industry’s sustained growth.

The Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa currently has 4,400 employees. The factory is undergoing a $1 billion expansion to ramp up electric vehicle production. Mercedes plans to go all electric before the end of the decade, so it’s critical that there are prepared workers to assist in this transition.

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Libby Foster
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