On December 23rd, the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) will kinda sorta turn 40.   It was in 1981 that then-President Reagan signed the bill that established the Rural Technical Assistance Program (RTAP).  In 1991, the program was expanded to include urban areas and Rural became Local and viola, you have LTAP Centers.  Or T2 Centers (geek-speak for technology transfer; hence T-squared).  Or about a dozen other names across the states, but nonetheless a common goal – assist local agencies with transportation challenges.

For those that wonder, LTAP/T2 Centers like ours are funded through the federal Highway Bill and matched by the DOT in each state.  The Federal Highway Administration oversees our program and they are celebrating our 40 years of successes this month.  Today, there is a Center in each state, one in Puerto Rico, and one for the American Indian Tribal Governments.

Delaware’s T2/LTAP Center began at the Delaware Department of Transportation with Oscar Sebastian (DelDOT) operating as a one man operation in 1983 or 1984 (memories are fading).  Larry Klepner (also with DelDOT) succeeded him in 1992 when Oscar retired.  In July 2002, the Center moved to the University of Delaware when Larry retired from DelDOT.  When Larry retired from the University in 2010, Rusty Lee took over to head the Center.

Delaware’s Center enjoys an excellent relationship with and support from DelDOT and the FHWA District Office.  Regular interaction keeps Center staff focused on latest challenges, latest resources, and priority concerns.  All Centers provide training relevant to the needs of their local agencies, but not all Centers provide technical assistance outside of training.  The Delaware T2/LTAP Center features its own, full-time Municipal Engineering Circuit Rider, available as a free service to public agencies in Delaware.

Larry Klepner, Dr. Ron Eck (WVLTAP and Sandi Wolfe in Pittsburgh 2009

The nation-wide collection of LTAP Centers act as a community of ideas and new approaches, new materials, and new techniques are shared through the community generously.  There is very little notion of “this is mine,” but there is a great deal of, “here, try this.”

The Delaware Center isn’t quite yet turning 40, but we are looking forward and wondering what challenges our public agencies will face.  We are happy to help you find the resources and information you need to meet them.  Please call on us whenever you think we can help.  If we don’t have the know-how, we will do our best to find someone who does.

Link to PDF