Tulsa Coalition Plans to Create a World-Class Advanced Mobility Corridor, Creating Thousands of High-Paying Local Jobs
TULSA, Okla., Sept. 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Biden administration and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced today that Tulsa is one of 21 recipients to be awarded a Build Back Better – American Rescue Plan grant in the amount of $38.2 million. The funds will be used by a Tulsa-based coalition of organizations from the government, nonprofit, academia, and private sectors, including the Indian Nations Council of Governments and Tulsa Innovation Labs, among others, to create the Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility (TRAM) Corridor. The goal of this corridor is to cultivate a diverse hub for research, development, and production in the advanced mobility (AM) industry, resulting in an anticipated generation of 30-40,000 jobs—the equivalent of $3.5-5 billion in economic activity—over the first 2-3 years.
The Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) will serve as the lead institution for the coalition’s efforts to build the TRAM Corridor. They will work with multiple partners including Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL), Tulsa Ports, Oklahoma State University, Osage LLC, City of Tulsa, Partner Tulsa and the Tulsa Regional Chamber. Each of these organizations are committed to building a resilient economy for the future of Tulsa, anchored in innovation, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing. The projects that will be created as part of the TRAM Corridor are intentionally designed to address economic disparities particularly among the tribal, black, and minority populations in and around Tulsa.
“This is a huge win for the Tulsa metro as we look to expand advanced mobility opportunities in northeast Oklahoma,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “I want to thank all of our coalition partners for coming together and identifying unique ways that we can put these funds to use. These projects will all have a huge impact on Tulsa and the entire region.”
Build Back Better “is the marquee of the EDA’s American Rescue Plan,” designed to boost pandemic economic recovery and rebuild American communities. The grant will also allow for continued evolution and innovation of advanced mobility. Tulsa is uniquely positioned to build the TRAM Corridor due to its long-standing legacy in the industries of aerospace, oil & gas, and manufacturing. Industry leaders also recognize the potential to create a more inclusive workforce and are committed to the core components of diversity, equity, and inclusion while creating pathways to quality careers for all Tulsans.
“Oklahoma State University is the state’s leader in aerospace and aviation, with specialized infrastructure dedicated to the research and design of unmanned systems,” said President of Oklahoma State University, Dr. Kayse Shrum. “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.”
The TRAM Corridor proposed four projects to attract and support growth in the advanced mobility space in Tulsa. The four projects are:
- Establishing a 114 nautical mile, Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLoS) commercial flight corridor
- Increasing R&D activity in the region by opening the LaunchPad Research and Technology Center located at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, focused on developing new technologies to meet rapidly-evolving industry needs in the advanced mobility sector
- Increasing the region’s skilled workforce through the funding of certificate programs, degree programs, and apprenticeships as well as the development of a Labor Market Observatory to consistently track and align the needs of the Advanced Mobility industry to the region’s talent
- Constructing a new industrial treatment facility that will treat over 4 million gallons per day of wastewater to make 2,200 acres of industrial property “pad-ready” to attract advanced mobility industries to the Tulsa Port of Inola
“Tulsa Ports has always served as a regional transportation hub and economic driver for our community,” said Chairman of Tulsa Ports’ Board of Directors, Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr. “This final piece of critical infrastructure will provide the 2,200-acre “Tulsa Port of Inola” industrial park the ability to recruit jobs and investment for the benefit of Northeastern Oklahoma and our multi-state region.”
This new grant from the EDA comes on the heels of a recent partnership between Oklahoma Governor Stitt and Arkansas Governor Hutchinson to create a “super-region” for advanced mobility. The collaboration supports the growth of the AM industry–focusing on drones, electric vehicles, battery manufacturing, and transportation and logistics solutions– with the goal of creating new research and testing space, supporting local AM startups, attracting new corporations, and convening industries to test and scale new technologies.
“This honor from the White House affirms Tulsa Innovation Lab’s vision for tech-led economic growth and Tulsa’s right to win in advanced mobility, ” says Jennifer Hankins, Head of Partnerships with Tulsa Innovation Labs. “This is an important step towards realizing our vision and transforming Tulsa into an inclusive, thriving city of the future.”
The region’s unique urban-rural makeup and geographic assets, such as the Helmerich Research Center in Tulsa, and a “Beyond Visual Line of Sight” between the Osage Nation and Oklahoma State University– provide a unique and fortuitous landscape for innovation in new technologies, especially advanced mobility.
The Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) is a voluntary association of local and tribal governments in the Tulsa metropolitan area in northeast Oklahoma. Established in 1967, INCOG is one of 11 Councils of Governments in the State of Oklahoma, and one of several hundred regional planning organizations across the country. INCOG provides planning and coordination services to assist in creating solutions to local and regional challenges in such areas as comprehensive planning, transportation, community and economic development, environmental quality and energy programs, public safety, and services for older adults. INCOG serves Creek, Osage, Rogers, Tulsa, and Wagoner counties, more than 50 cities and towns located in those counties, and the Cherokee, Muscogee, and Osage Nations.
Recognizing that the jobs of the future are rooted in a thriving innovation economy, the George Kaiser Family Foundation pioneered Tulsa Innovation Labs to develop a city-wide strategy that positions Tulsa as a tech hub that leverages the strengths of the Heartland. Through a diverse coalition of public and private partners, TIL is creating programs that seek to make Tulsa the nation’s most inclusive tech community.
Tulsa Ports encompasses two multi-modal shipping complexes and industrial parks totaling approximately 5,000 acres. The Tulsa Port of Catoosa and The Tulsa Port of Inola are home to 71 companies that employ nearly 3,200 Oklahomans. Located at the head of navigation for the McClellanKerr Arkansas River Navigation System in Northeast Oklahoma, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa is one of the largest, most inland river port/industrial parks in the United States. The Tulsa Port of Inola is a new, 2,500-acre, rail-served industrial property with land available in contiguous tracts up to 1,500 acres. Tulsa Ports is managed and operated by the City of Tulsa Rogers County Port Authority.
PartnerTulsa is the City of Tulsa’s economic development Authority that streamlines and strengthens Tulsa’s economic development efforts through the merging of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development (MOED), Tulsa Industrial Authority (TIA), Tulsa Parking Authority (TPA), and Economic Development Commission (EDC) into a single, enhanced Public Trust. Partner Tulsa (aka TAEO) is governed by a thirteen (13) member Board of Trustees and provides staffing for and oversees the operations of the Tulsa Development Authority (TDA). For more information about PartnerTulsa, visit www.PartnerTulsa.org.
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.
SOURCE Tulsa Innovation Labs