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Press Release of Senator Cantwell

Funding for Cantwell’s Center of Excellence Gets Final Approval

Thursday, January 29,2004

WASHINGTON, D.C . - Senator Maria Cantwell's (D-WA) mission to bring a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) research center to the University of Washington (UW) has become a reality as $500,000 in funding for the center was approved by the senate and signed by the president. The funds will be put to work immediately as researchers kicked off efforts today with a meeting between the center's partners, including representatives from UW and Edmonds Community College at the UW's Seattle campus.

Cantwell stated, “This composites research center is a great boost to the future of manufacturing in Puget Sound. It is more than an investment in research, it is an investment in jobs. I'm glad that this exciting new technology can begin to be developed.”

The research center, a.k.a. Center of excellence (COE) is a consortium of business, academic, and government interests that will coordinate research efforts to encourage the broader use of advanced structural materials, including composites and new aluminum alloys, in future commercial aircraft such as the Boeing 7E7.

Cantwell added, “Composites are going to get future planes in the air, and it only makes sense that they're developed here in the Puget Sound, assisted by the world's most talented and experienced aviation workers.”

The purpose of the COE for advanced materials is to forge a union of public sector (FAA, airport authorities, state/local governments, etc.), private sector (airlines, manufacturers, etc.), and academic institutions to create a world-class consortium that will identify solutions for existing and anticipated advanced materials problems.

Established industry partners for the UW-led Center of Excellence include:

The Boeing Company: Seattle, WA Triumph Composite Systems, Inc: Spokane, WA Toray Composites (America), Inc: Frederickson, WA Hexcel Composites: offices in Bellevue, WA; manufacturing facility in Burlington, WA Integrated Technologies (Intec), Inc: Bothel, WA Composite Solutions: Auburn, WA Heatcon Composite Systems: Seattle, WA With input from these partners, the research center will research the long-term durability and maintainability of aircraft manufacturing structures. Second, it will train new composites engineers and technicians and offer them continuing education. Third, the center will bring companies, researchers and government together to share ideas about new applications of the research.

Sen. Maria Cantwell's Efforts to Land Center:

In April 2003, Cantwell introduced S. 815, a bill to establish a center for excellence for applied research and training in the use of advanced materials in transport aircraft.

The legislation was considered during a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee field hearing on long-term growth strategies for the Northwest economy held in Seattle on April 14, 2003, and ultimately included in the Conference Report for the FAA Reauthorization bill, the principal legislation guiding U.S. aviation policy.

In July 2003, Senator Cantwell brought FAA's Chief Research official, Charles Keegan, to tour the Boeing Frederickson facility and to discuss the proposed center with the University of Washington. Cantwell worked with the University of Washington and the Boeing Company to draft the legislation. The legislation was also included in the “The Second Century of Flight Act,” an aviation research bill authored by Senators Ernest Hollings (D-SC), Cantwell, and Sam Brownback (R-KS).

President Bush signed the Cantwell legislation into law on December 12, 2003.