Violet Township Engineer Greg Butcher has been appointed as a voting member to the board of a new research program sponsored by the Ohio Department of Transportation that will focus on local transportation issues.
ODOT's "Research Initiative for Locals," bills itself as an innovative research program that will address the research needs of local transportation agencies in Ohio.
A total of $500,000 per fiscal year has been allocated by ODOT over the next four years to fund the program.
The $2 million total will be used to solicit research ideas from Ohio's local roadway agencies as well as to contract with transportation research professionals to investigate the roadway problems that local jurisdictions encounter.
ODOT approved the funding for the program last July.
Butcher, the lone township representative on the research board, was selected to serve a four-year term.
He said he hopes the research program will have a far-reaching impact throughout the state.
"I think it's an exciting opportunity to provide township perspective," Butcher said.
"(We're) looking for solutions to problems and issues that local governments face that are different than issues that an agency such as ODOT may face," Butcher said.
Butcher said local governments have to deal with different transportation systems, as well as networks, traffic volumes and types of roadways.
"It's research we hope to take to smaller agencies within the State of Ohio and implement new ideas," he said.
The program is modeled on successful transportation research programs in Iowa and Minnesota.
Butcher said the ultimate goal of the program is to be self-sustaining, without any funding from ODOT.
In addition to Butcher, other representatives to the board include four county engineers, four city engineers, a representative from from Ohio University and one from the University of Akron, and four members of ODOT's technical staff.
Butcher, who has been with Violet Township since 2001, will be responsible for selecting and recommending projects for funding, reviewing the progress of projects, marketing the program and selecting the researchers to conduct transportation projects.
"We'll identify strategies, the types of projects and the scopes of work," Butcher said.
"There's no pay for it, it's strictly volunteer. I think it's a good opportunity," he said.