Michigan transit agencies will receive nearly $2 million in federal grants to help serve veterans, military members and their families, Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow announced Monday.
The three grants come from the Federal Transit Administration's Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative, which provides grants to help local transit agencies establish "one call" information centers and additional information tools that help military and veteran families, traditionally under-served by transit resources, connect with local transportation services.
"These grants will help Michigan veterans, especially seniors or those with mobility impairments, find the services they need to access Department of Veterans Affairs care and other important services," Levin said. "And they will connect current military families, who have done so much for our nation, to transit and other services that can help them meet the challenges of life in the military."
"Our veterans and active duty personnel have made great sacrifices in defense of our country, and we owe them our unwavering support," said Stabenow. "When they return home, we have a commitment to making sure they have access to job opportunities, medical care and other important services they have earned."
The grants include:
$1.5 million to the Michigan Department of Transportation, which will work with eight regional call centers across the state to create a statewide one-call/one-click center providing transportation options for every county in the state.
$220,000 to the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), Metro Detroit's regional transit agency, to establish a one-call/one click center for its service area, promote the service to the area's 265,000 veterans, and coordinate outreach efforts with the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit.
$238,594 to the City of Livonia to expand its Livonia Community Transit call center into a one-call/one-click center for veterans and others in the community.
The program funding these grants was established last year, after President Obama called on federal agencies to support the transportation needs of veterans and military families. Among the challenges veterans and military families face are the strains of having family members deployed overseas and a range of physical, mental health and economic challenges when they return to civilian life. The grant program is designed to ensure that they are not prevented from accessing the community services they need to meet those challenges by lack of access to transportation.