Lawmakers Seek to Create 'Smart Region' in Mid-Atlantic States

A group of House lawmakers will announce April 4 steps to further the progress toward establishing a smart technology region comprising Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

One of the expected steps is establishing a formal board or group that would seek permanent funding for technology initiatives to create a smart region in these four mid-Atlantic states, said Bud DeFlaviis, press secretary for Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., who is spearheading the initiative.

To date, the various initiatives have received one-time funding from federal agencies and other sources since the regional initiative was conceived about five years ago, he said.

The research projects span a number of areas of regional and national importance, including defense, education, health and public safety.

In addition to the announcement on future funding strategies, the House members will review the progress made on projects and discuss new IT programs for the region.

More than 20 companies have participated in the smart region initiative. Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego, for example, received $7 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop next generation Internet technologies and applications.

Defense Telcordia Inc. of Morristown, N.J., and Galaxy Scientific Corp. of Warminster, Pa., received $6.3 million from the Army Space and Missile Defense Command's Advanced Technology Directorate for advanced IT to support missile defense programs.

A program called HUBS has sought to boost connectivity and improve cooperation among hospital, universities, businesses and schools, with initial funding coming from a $5 million, two-year challenge grant from the Department of Education.

The House members backing the initiative are Reps. Rob Andrews, D-N.J.; Robert Brady, D-Pa.; Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.; Melissa Hart, R-Pa.; Joseph Hoeffel, D-Pa.; Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.; and Weldon.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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