10 State, Local and Tribal Agencies Selected for Drone Integration Pilot Program



Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Microplastics in Great Lakes drinking water … Ohio governor's autonomous vehicle executive order ... FBI raids city hall and mayor’s home in Calif. desert town … and a Colo. mayor enters hospice.

Here are state and local government news stories that caught Route Fifty’s attention …

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH | U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Wednesday announced that her department has selected 10 state, local and tribal agencies for its new Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program. The selectees are, according to the Transportation Department:

  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • City of San Diego, California
  • Virginia Tech, Center for Innovative Technology, Herndon, Virginia
  • Kansas Department of Transportation
  • Lee County Mosquito Control District, Fort Myers, Florida
  • Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, Memphis, Tennessee
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • North Dakota Department of Transportation
  • City of Reno, Nevada
  • University of Alaska-Fairbanks

“The enthusiastic response to our request for applications demonstrated the many innovative technological and operational solutions already on the horizon,” Chao said in a department announcement. [USDOT; FAA; Nextgov]

In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich signed an executive order on Wednesday that gives the green light for researchers to test autonomous vehicles on all public roads in the state “as long as their vehicles meet certain safety requirements and are capable of complying with Ohio traffic regulations.”

[Ohio Governor’s Office; @JohnKasich]

WATER QUALITY | A University of Minnesota researcher has found that that microplastics are turning up in municipal water supplies across the Great Lakes and “are even showing up in the plethora of beers now being brewed with Great Lakes water.” [Duluth News Tribune]

Meanwhile at the University of Rhode Island, researchers are looking for volunteers on Cape Cod in Massachusetts to test private drinking water wells for PSAF, a manmade chemical that has contaminated drinking water in communities in New England. In Connecticut, state and local public health and environment officials are planning a May 14 information session regarding local samples in Greenwich that have turned up PFAS in public and private wells. [Rhode Island Public Radio; Greenwich Free Press]


  • Aurora, Colorado: After disclosing a cancer diagnosis in March, Mayor State Hogan on Wednesday announced that he has entered hospice care. To tell you the truth, I have never been much of a believer in term limits. I wanted you to know that my time as Mayor of Aurora will end sooner than I had desired,” Hogan said in a statement. “I have entered into home hospice care, with the understanding that my future days will be lived with dignity, grace, and in peace.” [KMGH-TV / Denver Channel]
  • Adelanto, California: FBI agents raided city hall and the home of Mayor Rich Kerr in this San Bernardino County desert town on Tuesday in connection with a public corruption investigation, a place that Kerr, who owns a local marijuana dispensary, and other officials “worked diligently to attract the cannabis industry” to the sleepy community with hopes of transforming it “into the Silicon Valley of marijuana.” [Los Angeles Times; Victorville Daily Press]
  • Columbia, South Carolina: State senators have launched a legislative probe following last month’s deadly prison riots at the Lee Correctional Institution. Corrections Director Bryan Stirling is expected to face questions on Thursday for the first time since April’s riots, where seven inmates died. [The Post and Courier]
What's envisioned for Seattle's waterfront near Pike Place Market when the Alaskan Way Viaduct is demolished.(City of Seattle via The Urbanist)
  • Seattle, Washington: With the Alaskan Way Viaduct along Seattle’s Elliott Bay waterfront set to be torn down after a replacement highway tunnel for State Route 99 opens later this year, plans are moving ahead on what will take shape on the elevated double-decker structure. A concept has been released by the city for a new public overlook, promenade landing, bridge and stairways that will connect Pike Place Market with the Seattle Aquarium. It “promises to both open up the waterfront and connect it to downtown, and to disrupt the old-timey, tourist centered look and feel of it with a far more contemporary space. ” [The Urbanist]
  • Washington, D.C.: The District of Columbia’s Urban Forestry Division is using a potato pesticide to inhibit the growth of female ginkgo tree fruit that can stink up neighborhood streets when they mature and fall to the ground. [WAMU 88.5 News]

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Seattle

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