The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) has approved 17 local projects for receipt of approximately $6 million dollars in federal funding to address the specialized transportation needs of older adults and individuals with disabilities in the region.
The grants are provided under the Federal Transit Administration’s Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program to remove barriers to transportation service and expand transportation mobility options for these communities. An additional $1.8 million dollars in matching funds is provided by the grantees, bringing the total funding for the projects to $7.9 million dollars.
"I’ve heard loud and clear the importance of the Enhanced Mobility Program—both from those who use the service and from all of the regional leaders who understand that these organizations lessen the strain on the overall system,” said Charles Allen, Transportation Planning Board Chair and District of Columbia Councilmember representing Ward 6. “I know firsthand the great work of Capitol Hill Village, a grant recipient from D.C., whose innovative approach ensures seniors can age-in-place and still move around the city. There are 14 other great organizations that will have expanded capacity to do the same for residents across the region. Also included is a $1.5 million grant for MetroAccess—TPB’s largest commitment yet to ensuring Metro is a fair and accessible transit system—which last year benefited 43,000 residents across the region. If we say we want to be an inclusive region, it means providing public transportation that meets our older or differently-abled residents where they are."
The projects approved by the TPB were selected by a panel of local and national transportation and human service agency representatives. The group considered how well the projects would address the region's top unmet mobility needs, including those identified in the TPB’s Coordinated Human Service Transportation Plan.
Components of all projects are expected to help reduce reliance on MetroAccess, the region’s paratransit service for residents unable to use Metrorail or Metrobus. One of the largest grants will be used to purchase 22 paratransit vehicles, replacing a portion of MetroAccess’ aging fleet.
Nine of the 17 funded projects fall in a “vehicle acquisition” category. Sixty-eight total vehicles will be acquired across projects for non-profits, COG member governments, the University of Maryland, and WMATA to provide service for eligible clients across the region.
Other funded projects include:
- Supplemental assistance for the Call-N-Ride taxi voucher program in Montgomery County, cutting the monthly subsidy in half for participants with the lowest incomes.
- Promotion of transportation services in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties; the coordinated effort by Fairfax County Mobility Access Project, Dulles Area Transportation Association, and Boat People SOS includes recruiting and training bilingual volunteers and drivers, improving the call center, and developing a transportation guidebook for the Vietnamese-speaking community.
- Efforts by the City of Rockville to construct missing sidewalk segments and improve 78 Metro and Ride-On bus stops throughout the city, including adding and upgrading benches and landing pads to be ADA-compliant.
View the full list.
The TPB began seeking applications for funding under Enhanced Mobility in August 2017. More than 1,200 eligible transportation agencies, non-profit organizations, and private transportation providers were invited to submit applications.
Since 2007, the TPB has awarded more than 100 projects totaling over $60 million dollars in Enhanced Mobility, Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC), and New Freedom grants.
MORE: About the Enhanced Mobility program.