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Navya autonomous shuttle

Mayor Chris Beutler said the city of Lincoln will continue its work on its autonomous shuttle project despite missing out on a large grant that would have helped pay for the project.

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler said Monday that the city will continue to pursue ways to pay for an autonomous shuttle project despite not receiving a large grant it hoped to get for the project.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor’s Challenge competition Monday announced nine grants of $1 million apiece to nine cities, and Lincoln was not among them.

Lincoln was one of 35 cities that in February was named a "Champion City" by Bloomberg Philanthropies and received a $100,000 grant to refine its autonomous shuttle idea over the summer. That resulted in a test of a Navya autonomous shuttle at Nebraska Innovation Campus. More than 1,500 riders participated in the test and gave the project team feedback.

“We are grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for our inclusion as a Champion City,” Beutler said in a news release. “The technical expertise they provided as part of the competition was invaluable to advancing our shuttle project.”

Beutler said the city will continue to pursue grant opportunities and partnerships that will help the shuttle project become a reality.

He said the city is still in the running for a $5 million grant from the Department of Transportation's Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program.

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"If we are successful there, we will be able to take the next steps to bring autonomous shuttles to downtown," he said in the news release.

The city’s partners in the shuttle project include HDR, Allo, Nelnet, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Innovation Campus, Nebraska Innovation Studio, the Downtown Lincoln Association and The Mill.

The cities that received the $1 million Bloomberg grants were: Philadelphia; Denver; Los Angeles; Durham, North Carolina; Fort Collins, Colorado; Georgetown, Texas; Huntington, West Virginia; New Rochelle, New York; and South Bend, Indiana.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.


Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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