United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced $29 million in federal grants Monday to improve military veterans’ access to public transportation. The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority will receive $2 million under the program this year.
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff says money from the Veteran’s Transportation Initiative will help veterans in the Berkshires navigate both veterans administration services and regional transit services by establishing what he calls a ‘one click, one call’ center.
“This ‘one click, one call’ center will allow a veteran or their family to get on a website, [and] with one click of the mouse, or one telephone call, be able to identify what services are available to them, tell where they need to go to get the assistance they need to make those connections.”
Rogoff says the transportation department’s efforts are part of government-wide initiatives to assist veterans, who he says face unique challenges when they return to civilian life.
“Within the transportation field, we want to make sure people are connected to what they need, often transportation is the biggest hindrance to a returning veteran getting to the medical services they need, getting to job training.”
The Veteran’s Transportation Initiative is in its second year, but the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority is receiving funding through the program for the first time. Last year the program awarded thirty four million dollars to transit authorities throughout the country.