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Transportation Research Center unveils resurfaced high-speed track (Audio & video included)

The Transportation Research Center, commonly known as TRC, unveiled their recently renovated high-speed test track to the governor’s office and other dignitaries on Thursday.

The 7.5-mile track was in major disrepair since its initial construction 39 years ago. Since that time, only sections of the track have been repaired which have lowered the road’s quality to a point where using the facility was potentially unsafe.

Through funding from Honda and the State of Ohio, the track has been completely resurfaced allowing it to now accommodate speeds above 200 mph. Officials say the improved speed will further attract companies within the industry to use the facility.

The high-speed highway is now more suitable for tests that include accumulation of miles, coast down, and fuel economy testing.

Rick Gildow is president of TRC and says the project will bring more business to the center, further stimulating the Ohio economy. He also expressed thanks to the governor for giving them help through JobsOhio.

“We wanted a smooth track,” Gildow said. “We had started limiting speeds to 140 miles per hour and that wasn’t going to get it for some of the new products that were coming to market.”

Listen to TRC President Rick Gildow talk about the track

“Through the governor’s efforts and Hondas efforts in reconditioning this track, we’ve got a smooth surface with smooth curves that can achieve those objectives we’ve set for the project,” Gildow said.

Governor John Kasich was the main speaker of the ceremony. He talked about the importance of Ohio’s dedication to the research center and its value to the state saying, “TRC represents Ohio’s long term commitment to auto industry.”

He also explained that the need for the project was concluded after a meeting in 2012 with TRC leaders to see where the center could be improved.

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Watch Governor John Kasich talk about the facility

The overall cost of the project was $16 million. Honda contributed $10 million with the remaining $6 million provided by the state. $3 million came in the form of Targeted Industry Attraction grant money and the other half courtesy of the Ohio Department of Transportation Capital Program.

After speaking, Kasich was given a ride around the unique track, which he said was as “smooth as silk.” He noted the car he was in reached a speed of well over 100 mph while cruising on the steep curves the track offers.

The track is made in such a way that the curves require a minimum of 60 mph to get around them. Much higher speeds can be obtained while traveling the state-of-the-art facility.

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Take a backseat ride as a Honda Acura reaches 130 mph on the tracks steep curves

Speaking briefly were Senator Keith Faber of the Ohio Senate and Dr. David Williams, Dean of the Ohio State University School of Engineering.

Also present at the ceremony were representatives from the office of JobsOhio. JobsOhio is a division of Governor Kasich’s initiative to improve Ohio employment and was a major part of the initiative to supply money to the TRC.

Kristi Tanner is the JobsOhio Managing Director for Advanced Manufacturing, Automotive, and Aerospace & Aviation. She explained the use of money towards the track resurfacing was a positive move for Ohio.

Listen to Kristi Tanner of JobsOhio talk about the TRC track renovation

Caroline Ramsey represents Honda of America through Corporate Relations and said the track is an important reminder of Honda’s dedication to the community and without the center, Honda may not be located where it is today.

“We have a long history and the fact that there was a state of the art proving ground even back then really made this part of Ohio attractive for Honda,” Ramsey said.

Listen to Caroline Ramsey of Honda talk about the relationship between the companies

TRC began as a project by Governor Jim Rhodes to make Ohio a more attractive area for transportation companies. The facilities were built before Honda was located in Logan and Union counties. The services offered by TRC were said to be a major factor in the decision of Honda to locate in the area in 1979.

Honda is not the sole client of the facility. Though the company utilizes a great amount of the center, many companies outside of Honda are involved in testing at the TRC.

According to TRC, approximately 90 percent of their expenditures benefit Ohio. These come primarily through wages, benefits, services, and materials. The company generates $40 million in development each year through research, development, and testing. About 85 percent of those contracts are from outside of Ohio.

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