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Charles Seeks State, Federal Transportation Funds
La Plata, MD - 1/23/2013
By Marty Madden
The Charles County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday, Jan. 22 to request funding from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Maryland Transit Administration. The commissioners approved the annual transportation plan grant application as presented by the Department of Community Services and authorized Commissioners’ President Candace Quinn Kelly [D] to file a grant application with MDOT for funds from the Federal Transit Act.
According to Jeffry Barnett, the department’s chief of Transportation and Community Programs, the money will be used for expanding the operation of the county’s transit service and pay for planned capital projects. Barnett stated the operational assistance may cover approximately 50 percent of the net costs while the capital assistance covers 90 percent of the costs with state and federal funds.
The request for $2.64 million in operation assistance represents an increase in federal funds based on population increases in the Waldorf/St. Charles area. Barnett stated increased funding is needed to accommodate residents needing a lift to a new dialysis center in White Plains and transport more locals to the Waldorf Senior Center.
According to Barnett, 12 seniors are on a waiting list for daily transport to the Waldorf facility. Kelly asked if it wasn’t possible to expedite that process. “Twelve people is not a lot,” said Kelly, who asked the department staff to find a way to get the dozen seniors transportation before the end of the current fiscal year.
In addition to operation money, Charles County is requesting $627,287 in funding for capital projects related to transportation, specifically capitalized preventive maintenance, improvements to the U.S. Route 301 Park and Ride, the second phase of a VanGO maintenance facility feasibility study and replacement of two para-transit buses. One component of the Park and Ride improvement project would be the addition of security cameras at the entrance and exit.
Charles County plans to file jointly with Prince George’s County for $842,770 in grant funding over two years from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Jobs Access Reverse Commute (JARC) program. The program under the auspices of the Federal Transit Administration is aimed at transporting low income and disabled citizens to jobs. Barnett explained that $84,820 would be used for VanGO operations, $606,360 would be dedicated to fixed bus route operations and $151,590 would be available to address bus demand operations. A new fixed route service—connecting bus riders to Clinton to Brandywine Crossing to Mattawoman-Beantown Road—would be added. The additional funds would help establish new VanGO service between Waldorf and Brandywine Crossing on evenings and Saturdays when the bus doesn’t run. Charles and Prince George’s counties will be required to provide a 50 percent match for the federal funds each receives.
The county is also required to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to procure the funds. In addition to a resolution, County Attorney Barbara L. Holtz reviewed the request. Her opinion letter was submitted along with the resolution and other application paperwork.
Barnett said the county should know by April if the JARC funding has been approved.
Contact Marty Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org
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