METRO RTA (Summit County Ohio)

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $29 Million for Veterans Transportation Grants

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $29 million in grants for 64 projects in 33 states and the Northern Mariana Islands, including $450,000 for the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority in Dayton, Ohio.

Department of Transportation's Regional Administrator Marisol Simon traveled to Dayton today to announce the Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative grant that will make it much easier for the RTA to enable returning and retired veterans and their families, as well as those with disabilities, to schedule rides to the Dayton VA Medical Center and other destinations.

"This grant represents a significant way for RTA to enhance our services to those men and women in our community who have served our country. By providing the money to obtain an enhanced scheduling package, RTA will help give back to our local veterans for their service and dedication to all U.S. citizens," said RTA Executive Director Mark Donaghy.  

Veterans will even be able to schedule reminders about upcoming rides via the web, a smart phone, or a simple phone call because of the grant. More than 80,000 veterans live in the Dayton area and many work for the state's largest employer, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Medical Center.

The money coming to RTA, the single largest grant awarded in Ohio, is part of a $824,400 grant earmarked for four Ohio projects that all are designed to deliver better coordinated access to local transportation options to help returning veterans and their families, as well as retired, elderly, and disabled veterans, find affordable rides to work, school, shopping, medical care and other community destinations.

"Veterans have the skills, knowledge and attributes that American businesses need to help rebuild an economy that will last," said Secretary LaHood. "To connect these men and women with the jobs and training opportunities they deserve, as well as the medical services they need, we must ensure they can conveniently tap into reliable transportation close to home."

"Dayton is home to thousands of returning and disabled veterans, and an aging population of retirees, who need and deserve access to reliable transportation to get to work, to the Air Force base, the VA medical center, and other destinations," Simon said. "It's vitally important that we remove barriers to success by making transportation available wherever our veterans choose to live, work, and receive care."

In addition to the Dayton project, Ohio's share of the grant funds will support three additional projects:

  • $274,400 for the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority serving Portage and Geauga counties.
  • $50,000 for the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority.  
  • $50,000 for the Western Reserve Transit Authority in Mahoning County.

FTA received 80 proposals requesting $40 million for this second round of Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative grants, reflecting strong demand for the program. In FY2011, FTA awarded $34.6 million for 55 veterans' transportation projects around the country.

The Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative was developed by the federal Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility, a permanent partnership of federal departments working together to better coordinate federal programs on behalf of people with disabilities, the elderly, and low-income individuals. The Council is chaired by Secretary LaHood.