Utah launches groundbreaking air transportation system

Project Alta seeks to transform how Utahns travel and packages are delivered by 2034

SALT LAKE CITY, June 10, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Utah's aerospace and defense association, 47G, in partnership with the Utah Governor's Office, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), the Utah Inland Port Authority and industry stakeholders have launched a game-changing initiative called "Project Alta." The Air Logistics Transportation Alliance (ALTA) is a collaborative partnership with a mission to establish an advanced air mobility (AAM) system for Utah. AAM is a new form of transportation that uses electric aircraft to safely and seamlessly move people and packages.

Project Alta seeks to create a well-functioning transportation system in the air that connects seamlessly with Utah's transportation system on the ground. The alliance aims to expand existing drone package delivery to more Utah communities, utilize drones for cargo transport, and establish regional air taxi service that move people by 2034. With Utah slated to host the world for the Winter Olympic Games in 2034, efficiently moving people and goods will be critically important.

"Utah has unique assets--growth, tourism, business, beautiful national parks--47G's work to establish statewide air mobility solutions will allow visitors from around the world to access everything Utah has to offer," said Utah Governor Spencer Cox. "Aerospace, defense and cyber companies make up 20% of Utah's economy. 47G Project Alta has a mandate from the state to lead our advanced air mobility strategy, positioning Utah to become a global leader in this fast-growing industry."

Utah stands out as the one of the only states in the country undertaking a comprehensive, statewide approach supported at the highest levels of state and local government, industry and academia. Utah legislators have enacted forward-thinking policies to create a regulatory framework in which advanced air mobility technologies can flourish. They have passed laws enabling the creation of air mobility systems and directed UDOT to create an "AAM sandbox" that will accelerate these technologies in a safe testing environment. To date, state legislators have appropriated over $3 million for AAM initiatives.

"Project Alta represents a collaborative, public-private partnership of industry and government stakeholders seeking to establish the first nationally recognized multi-modal transportation system with air mobility as a core tenet," said Aaron Starks, 47G president and CEO. "By leveraging our entrepreneurial spirit and cutting-edge technologies, we will attract investment, accelerate the development of critical infrastructure, and enable the deployment of aircraft that make our transportation system truly multimodal."

Dozens of Utah-based companies play an active and integral role in the global AAM market:

    --  Zipline - Partnered with Intermountain Health to deliver medicine to
        homes via drone
    --  Hexcel - Supplies carbon fiber for air taxis made by Archer Aviation
    --  Electric Power Systems - Provides cutting-edge batteries to various
        electric aircraft manufacturers
    --  Albany Engineered Composites - Develops structural components for air
        taxis made by Beta Technologies
    --  Intergalactic - Manufactures thermal management systems for Embraer's
        Eve aircraft

"During my decade in Congress, I had the privilege of serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence where I played a key role enacting legislation that protected our national security," said former Congressman Chris Stewart, chair of 47G. "47G Project Alta's ground-breaking work will not only improve Utahns' mobility but also protect our national security by creating a national model for air mobility collaboration that can be replicated around the country."

Nation-leading work requires the right companies and the right people. To that end, 47G recently announced the strategic hiring of a former senior ranking Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) official to oversee Project Alta. Chris Metts has held numerous positions during his 31 years at the FAA, including time overseeing AAM activities nationally. Metts has authored AAM research studies for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and brings a wealth of experience to Utah.

"I have known Chris Metts for decades and have found him to be an innovative and collaborative leader who understands the issues, seeks consensus and can hit the ground running," said former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Project Alta Chair. "Chris is an exceptional leader who will prioritize safety and security above all else. We are lucky to have him leading this generational initiative."

About 47G
47G is the world's premier ecosystem for aerospace, defense and cyber companies in Utah, with a mission to foster talent, fund entrepreneurship and fuel innovation. The 47G ecosystem comprises over 120 companies and 20 academic institutions working to solve critical national security challenges across three industry sectors. Want to learn more? Visit the website at 47G.org, follow 47G on LinkedIn and X, and subscribe to their YouTube Channel. Click HERE for the digital media kit that contains additional assets from the Project Alta launch.

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SOURCE 47G Utah Aerospace & Defense