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.

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