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Hopelink secures funding for new and existing transportation programs
Vital new transportation programs offered throughout King County are now up and running while others will remain online for at least the next two years, thanks to a $786,778 award in federal and state funding. Hopelink recently received notice from the Washington State Department of Transportation that it was awarded grants for its new Ride Around the Sound program and information kiosks serving veterans and medical facilities, as well as the existing Mobility Management program.
The funds support Hopelink’s ongoing efforts to improve mobility for people living in King County, including seniors, veterans and low-income residents. The grants will pay for travel training and assistance programs and coordination of countywide and regional transportation coalitions to expand and launch new projects.
Particularly significant during the current recession is that the funding will boost Hopelink programs that are aimed at promoting self-sufficiency. Transportation options can be a key piece of the puzzle for job seekers and those who are just getting back on their feet and need a way to get to work, day care or educational opportunities.
Hopelink programs funded through the grants:
• Ride Around the Sound (RAS)
Set to begin in early 2012, the Ride Around the Sound program unites Hopelink with other social services agencies and organizations to teach people to how to ride public transit in the Puget Sound area. Serving low-income residents, veterans and people with limited English proficiency, this program will offer free group excursions on public transit to social service locations, cultural sites and educational events.
• Transportation kiosks
Grant funds will pay for 10 computer-based transportation kiosks at local medical centers to help patients, their families and hospital employees access immediate information about transportation options.
• One Stop Access
Funding will pay for a one-click transportation Web site, smartphone app and four additional kiosks at locations that serve veterans.
• Mobility Management
Hopelink’s Mobility Management program provides travel education and resources through three training programs — including Ride Around the Sound. The programs empower people to change their lives by facilitating access to the community; providing such services as one-on-one transportation assistance with volunteer travel trainers. Grant funding will continue and expand the program.
Support for Hopelink’s transportation programs is part of a statewide effort to improve mobility for people with special transportation needs. Over the next two years, state funds of $13.7 million — authorized by the state Legislature — will be matched with approximately $25.9 million in funds from the Federal Transit Administration to support rural and special needs public transportation programs in 38 counties across the state.