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EDA officials celebrate $39 million in federal funding for Tulsa's TRAM corridor

A photo of a plane flying into an Oklahoma airport. Courtesy of KGOU Radio.
KGOU Radio
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KGOU
A photo of a plane flying into an Oklahoma airport.

Officials from the U.S. Economic Development Administration visited Tulsa on Thursday to celebrate the nearly $39 million in federal funding to boost the region's advanced mobility, automation, and unmanned aerial systems industry.

Tulsa was one of 21 cities who received a share of the funds which are part of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge through the Biden Administration's American Rescue Plan Act.

The money is slated to create the Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility Corridor, which will be managed by an area-coalition.

Members of that area-coalition include multiple organizations such as the City of Tulsa, the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Tulsa Innovation Labs, and Oklahoma State University.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and Chief Operating Officer, Dennis Alvord, said the development grant will help to accelerate economic growth within region and ensure a diverse range of populations and geographies are able to benefit from it.

"We want to make sure as the country as a whole and the economy of the country have really roared back following the pandemic, that we're really setting up regions to succeed over the long term," Alvord said.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said the funds will help transform the area from its roots in oil and gas to innovation and new technology.

"The larger metro area is going to be a national leader in the advanced mobility industry so everything from electric vehicles, to drones, all of the next rated technology," Bynum said. "It's going to transform the way people live. This is going to be the epicenter of that industry in America."

Bynum said research for that new industry will be based out of the Greenwood District and will work to benefit the Tulsa metro as a whole. Federal officials said the money will also help to increase the area's workforce through funding certificate and degree programs, as well as setting up apprentices.

Before making her way to Public Radio Tulsa, KWGS News Director Cassidy Mudd worked as an assignment editor and digital producer at a local news station. Her work has appeared on ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates across the country.