When Dr. Rod Casey, director of the Theological Education Initiative (TEI), first came to Columbia, he quickly fell in love with the trail systems,...
The Missouri Department of Transportation approved funding for the Mid-MO Mobility Management Project, an operation of the Mid-MO Regional Planning Commission.
The goal of the project is to increase access to transit, with focus on people with disabilities, the elderly and low-income individuals.
A Federal Transit Administration grant will provide 80 percent of the funding for the $200,000 project to hire a mobility manager and support the Mid-Missouri Transportation Coordination Council. The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council has approved 20 percent additional matching funds for the project. A small portion of that 20 percent includes some financial backing by the Mid-MO RPC.
The funding seeks to provide mobility tools to the public; with the funding, the Mid-MO RPC will implement an education campaign on the use and demands of transit. It will also strengthen United Way’s 2-1-1 program, which provides free, confidential resources for issues ranging from mortgage help to job training.
“[United Way’s 2-1-1 program] already supports mobility management at a statewide and even national level,” said Katrina Williams, a planner for the Mid-MO RPC, in an email. “We want to work closely with them to make sure they have the most up-to-date information and resources to assist callers with.”
The grant will create a mobility manager staff position. Among other responsibilities, the mobility manager will:
— run a mobility and poverty simulation
— design educational and promotional materials
— maintain a regional provider database and support the 2-1-1 database
— identify funding to sustain coordination
— support the Mid-Missouri Transportation Coordination Council
The project is set to start in September 2015 and is funded for two years.
According to the Mid-MO Mobility Project overview, there are 326,543 people living in the Mid-MO RPC region. 36,321 are over the age of 65 and 41,646 are disabled, with 70,000 living below the poverty line.
“The ultimate goal is to create a sustainable program in Mid-Missouri,” Williams said.
Over the past two years, the commission staff has worked alongside several regional transportation stakeholders in order to increase coordination. More than 33 providers in Mid-Missouri have had a role in providing access to facilities and services. Organizations such as Central Missouri Community Action, United Way’s 2-1-1, and MODDC have played a part in increasing access. Central Missouri Community Action will hire and supervise the new mobility manager.