Budzinski Announces $4.2 Million for Energy, Infrastructure Research at the University of Illinois 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) announced that the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has been awarded more than $4.2 million in federal grant funding. These funds, awarded through a series of six grants from the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency, will help fund a variety of research projects related to energy and transportation innovation.

“The University of Illinois continues to lead the way into the 21st century with groundbreaking infrastructure and clean energy research,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “I’m thrilled to announce that my alma mater will be receiving more than $4.2 million in federal funding for a variety of different research projects. The impact of this research will resonate throughout the 13th district, bringing real improvements in environmental sustainability, infrastructure resilience and economic growth to benefit our local community.”

A breakdown of the funding awarded, and descriptions of each project can be found below:

  • $519,991 for Public Transit Pricing Systems Research: This project will inform policy choices about whether to charge prices for the use of certain transportation services, such as metered parking or fare-free transit. The project will create models of transit systems to analyze the effects when prices are added or removed, including the difference in bus boarding times with and without fares. 
  • $800,000 for Sustainable Food Ware Research: The goals of this Pollution Prevention (P2) grant are to provide technical assistance and training to increase the use of safe and more sustainable food ware in businesses located in disadvantaged communities by supporting purchasing programs for food contact materials that do not contain Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). 
  • $1,126,972 for an Environmental Justice Pollution Prevention Grant Program: This Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) program will provide technical assistance using Pollution Prevention (P2) practices to address environmental justice concerns and improve human health and the environment in disadvantaged communities. This assistance will include additional information, training and expert advice. 
  • $632,265 for Sustainable Metals Research: The ability for metals to withstand repeated stress is a vital part of structural engineering. However, many metals and alloys exhibit limited resistance to repeated pressure which limits their sustainability. This project aims to equip current metals and alloys with the competitive edge and sustainability required to meet the ever-evolving needs of our society and advancing technology.
  • $650,000 for a Coal Ash Impoundment Assessment: The purpose of this project is to conduct a statewide assessment of the 72 coal ash impoundments in the State of Illinois, which contain toxic byproducts from burning coal. Detailed information will be gathered about current impoundment status, risk factors and mitigation options. 
  • $510,000 for Decarbonization Scenarios Research: This project will develop a new modeling framework of climate, air quality and environmental equity impacts in various policy scenarios and apply the framework in the analysis and evaluation of climate policy. The research aims to greatly improve our understanding of the associated benefits and negative consequences of decarbonization policy scenarios, especially as related to environmental equity, both within the United States and internationally. 


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