FTA Recognizes Three Outstanding Rural Transit Agencies
October 14, 2016 | Tags:
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers announced three Administrator’s Awards for Outstanding Public Transportation Service in Rural Public Transportation. The announcement was made at the 22nd National Rural and Intercity Bus Conference in Asheville, NC.
“The Obama Administration is proud to partner with public transportation services that provide a lifeline for many people in America’s rural communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “By enhancing mobility and increasing access to employment, these unsung heroes of transportation have done an exceptional job of connecting rural residents to ladders of opportunity.”
Since 1985, FTA has recognized great work in rural transit by presenting Administrator’s Awards for Outstanding Public Transportation Service in Rural Public Transportation. This year’s awards seek to recognize rural transit providers that improved the mobility of Americans in rural areas and enhanced access to employment, healthcare, and community services. These criteria were chosen to support the Secretary of Transportation’s Ladders of Opportunity initiative as well as FTA’s Rides to Wellness initiative.
One of the top three rural transit providers recognized by the FTA is part of the SWTA Nation:
Durango Transit, Durango, CO
Durango Transit provides an average of 500,000 trips annually, serving 17,800 people who live and work in Durango, as well as regional residents and visitors. In March 2016, Durango Transit executed a “Rides to Wellness” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rocky Mountain Health Plans to ensure that Medicare, Medicaid and dual eligible individuals have transit service to access health care. Durango has coordinated with social service agencies to provide service and travel training to older adults, people with disabilities and low income residents to reach healthcare and other needed services. Durango has worked closely with the local school district to educate high school students about public transit resulting in an increase in younger riders.
The work done by these and other agencies will only become more important in the near future, as both population and demand for reliable transit are expected to grow significantly. The FAST Act, passed last year, provides steady and predictable funding for five years with an increase of $1 billion over MAP-21 levels for the total FTA transit program.
Under the FAST Act, rural transit providers are receiving increased federal formula funding under Section 5311, Formula Grants for Rural Areas, and the Tribal Transit Formula, of up to $35 million per year, from $30 million. Additionally, rural transit providers are eligible for funding through FTA’s Bus and Bus Facilities Program, which has both a formula and competitive element.
Pictured: Carolyn Flowers, acting administrator of the federal Transportation Administration, right, honored Durango Transit for outstanding rural service this week. Durango’s Transportation and Sustainability Director Amber Blake traveled to Asheville, North Carolina, to receive the award.
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