(a) As used in this section, "transportation-related research" means the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions to provide resilient and sustainable logistics, processes, materials, and methods to ensure cost-effectiveness and the furtherance of education and economic development concerning all forms of transportation, including without limitation rail, public transportation, aviation, and waterborne transportation.
(b) The Transportation-Related Research Grant Program is established to provide grants to publicly funded institutions of higher education for transportation-related research.
(c) A publicly funded institution of higher education may submit an application to receive a grant for transportation-related research to the Arkansas Department of Transportation, which includes without limitation:
(1) A brief description of the transportation-related research;
(2) An estimate of the cost-effective benefits of the transportation-related research;
(3) The economic development anticipated from the transportation-related research; and
(4) Any other information requested by the department.
(d) The department may award a grant to a publicly funded institution of higher education using funds available in the Future Transportation Research Fund for transportation-related research that meets the criteria established by the department.
(e) The department and the State Highway Commission shall promulgate rules to implement and administer this section, including without limitation the:
(1) Application process;
(2) Disbursement of grant funds; and
(3) Criteria required under subsection (d) of this section.