Washington, D.C. – At its meeting today, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) was briefed on the new federal Enhanced Mobility program, which provides funding for accessible transportation projects across the region. “With this money, we’re going to provide more access and mobility to people with disabilities and older adults,” TPB Chairman and College Park City Councilman Patrick Wojahn remarked of the federal grant, formally known as the Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility Program.
The allotted funds for the program will “provide up to $5.6 million in matching grants for transportation improvements which can make a real difference in the everyday lives of people with disabilities and older adults" said TPB Vice-Chair and Alexandria City Councilman Tim Lovain, who chairs the TPB's Human Service Transportation Task Force. Non-profit agencies and local jurisdictions can apply for grant funds to provide specialized services and facilitate access for those individuals who would otherwise need pre-arranged paratransit service to go about their daily lives. Services could include taxicab access, transit use training and door-to-door services. The grant could also fund mobility coordinators to work with transit and human service agencies to leverage more out of existing transportation resources and programs.
The new program has also led the TPB to update its Coordinated Human Service Transportation Plan, which will guide funding decisions. The plan is open for public comment until July 12. The TPB was tasked with administering the Enhanced Mobility funds by the Governors of Maryland and Virginia and the Mayor of the District of Columbia. Prior to the Enhanced Mobility Program, the TPB oversaw the Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) and New Freedom programs. Under TPB stewardship from 2008 to 2013, these programs funded $22 million in mobility services, programs and training across 59 projects.