Federal grants awarded for 2 transit projects in Arkansas

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An agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will award $367,650 for transit improvement projects in Arkansas as part of a public transportation program that supports areas of persistent poverty.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Thursday (June 23) announced more than $16.2 million for 40 projects in 32 states and two territories under the agency’s Areas of Persistent Poverty program for the fiscal year 2021.

Batesville-based White River Health System Inc. will receive $187,650 to create a low-cost public transit system to improve access to jobs, health care and education for rural communities across north-central Arkansas. The healthcare provider will work with stakeholders to increase people’s mobility to see their doctor and get to work, reduce absenteeism and avoidable hospitalizations, and make communities healthier and safer, according to the website. of the FTA.

The City of Pine Bluff Transit will receive $180,000 to study ways to improve public transportation by improving efficiency and ensuring their system meets the needs of those who lack access to jobs, public services , education and health facilities.

“For millions of people in communities large and small, public transit is a lifeline,” said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Every American should have an affordable way to get to work or school, buy fresh food, access medical care, and visit loved ones – and these transportation grants will help make this a reality in 45 underserved communities across the country.”

The FTA has received applications totaling nearly $63 million in funding requests for the Areas of Persistent Poverty program. Grants support planning, engineering, and technical studies or financial plans to improve public transit in census-defined low-income areas. The program also supports coordinated human services transportation planning to improve transit service or provide new services, including paratransit.

“Public transit can be the great equalizer, but if you live in a transit desert, where options are few and far between, you don’t have access to that power,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty program removes barriers to opportunity by improving access to jobs, school and services for some of our residents who need them most. »

According to a press release, the next round of funding for the program is expected to support more projects due to the bipartisan infrastructure law. The program was previously called Helping Achieve Prosperity for All.

Link here for selected program projects for fiscal year 2021.

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