U.S. veterans and their families, wounded warriors and other military personnel will find it easier and cheaper to get to work, school, shopping and medical facilities, thanks to $29 million in local transportation improvement grants just awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
"With these transportation grants, we will help connect veterans and military families with the jobs and training opportunities they deserve, as well as the medical care and other services they need, all located close to home," said Secretary LaHood in a press release.
Also See: Why You Can't Get a Government Grant?
Funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative grants will be used by local governments and transit agencies to implement new features, like real-time bus, taxi, van and train locator smart phone applications, that will make it easier for veterans and others to find and schedule rides when they need them.
With the unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans alone running around 12%, more than 4% above the national average, the ability to find and schedule convenient, low-cost rides to work and training could be a game-changer, according to the DOT.
"America's war heroes deserve a chance to support their families, participate in their communities, receive job training and get to work," said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. "It's vitally important that we remove barriers to success by making transportation available wherever our veterans choose to live, work and receive care."
Examples of projects funded by the $29 million in grants include:
Lee County, Florida, where a $1.4 million grant that will, among other things, enable the installation of new information kiosks at a brand new Veterans Administration outpatient clinic in Cape Coral and other locations, where veterans can readily obtain real-time information on transit rides and schedules, day or night.
The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority in Dayton, Ohio, home to more than 80,000 veterans, will use its $450,000 grant to make it easier for returning and retired veterans and those who have disabilities to arrange for rides by phone, smart phone or on the web.
Along with the $29 million for 64 projects this year, the FTA awarded $34.6 million for 55 veterans' transportation projects in 2011.