Contact: Angela Gates
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today obligated two grants totaling $646,500 to the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) and the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) to help veterans and their families find affordable rides to work, school, medical care and other destinations in central and northern New Mexico. FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, joined by local officials and veterans, made the announcement at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial near Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.
“Ensuring that our veterans and military families have access to quality, convenient transportation is just one way we can thank them for their service,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “In New Mexico and across the country, we’re helping to provide the men and women who have served our country with the jobs and training opportunities they deserve, as well as access to the medical care and other services they need.”
FTA first announced the selection of the two New Mexico projects in July 2012 and today’s announcement marks the official release of the funds to NMDOT and MRCOG. NMDOT is receiving $364,000 to upgrade a regional call center in the Santa Fe area and MRCOG is receiving $282,500 to launch a new web site in Albuquerque. Both efforts will provide one-call or one-click access to information that makes it easy for veterans, military families and others to arrange and connect to transportation options throughout the state.
“Santa Fe, Albuquerque and the surrounding counties are home to roughly 155,000 veterans and thousands more active duty military personnel and families who need and deserve access to reliable transportation options to get to work, medical care and other destinations,” said Administrator Rogoff. “This investment will also ensure that spouses and children of deployed service members have access to transportation options here at home while their loved ones are stationed abroad.”
MRCOG is working with a number of local partners to develop and implement the new transportation web site, expected to launch next year. The site will consolidate information that is currently fragmented and difficult to navigate into one web site that offers easy access to various transportation services throughout the Albuquerque region.
NMDOT is working with the North Central Regional Transit District to purchase software that will help provide a more accurate way to schedule on-demand service for people with disabilities and wheelchair users, including veterans. In addition, NMDOT is working with the City of Santa Fe to upgrade the city’s existing transportation call center. The upgrades will enable callers to obtain real-time information on NMDOT Park & Ride bus stop arrivals and will also improve access for people with disabilities.
The Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative was developed by the Federal Interagency 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, older adults and individuals with lower incomes. The Council is chaired by Secretary LaHood.
The grants are provided through the FTA Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative, which, including the grants obligated today, awarded $63.6 million in Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012 for 119 innovative projects serving veterans and others around the country.