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Minn. transit grant for vets, military families

The Minnesota Department of Transportation Thursday received a $1.18 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to create a transportation referral system that will improve transportation options and mobility for Minnesota’s veterans, service members, their families and other Minnesota residents.

The grant is from the USDOT Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative Capital Grants Program.

“It is very appropriate that we acknowledge this grant two days before Veterans Day,” said MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel in a news release. “This will help us expand needed transportation services for our veterans and their families. The application was a collaborative project and we greatly appreciate the work of all of our partners.”

Federal Transit Administration Administrator Peter Rogoff made the announcement at a news conference held at the Veterans Service Building in St. Paul. Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum; Commissioner Sorel; Jean Wood, executive director, Minnesota Board on Aging; and Mike Schadauer, MnDOT Transit director, also spoke at the event.

The project will augment an existing statewide one-call/one-click center with technology and information about public, not-for-profit, and private transportation alternatives for veterans, military families, people with disabilities, and older adults.

As proposed, the transportation referral system would be developed in four phases. Phase 1 of the project, which will be facilitated by the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, builds a transportation information referral system for a 27-county region in southwestern Minnesota. Phase 2 builds a database of transportation data in all of Greater Minnesota (outside the seven-county Twin Cities Metro area) and a trip planner interface. Phase 3 builds a transportation information referral system for a 14-county region in west central Minnesota. Phase 4 does the same for a seven-county area in northeastern Minnesota.