News - OCTA Awards Nearly $3 Million to Improve Transportation for Seniors and People with Disabilities

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OCTA Awards Nearly $3 Million to Improve Transportation for Seniors and People with Disabilities

OCTA developed the EMSD grant program to provide additional opportunities for Orange County nonprofit organizations and local agencies to enhance transportation options beyond OC ACCESS paratransit services

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors has awarded $2.75 million to local organizations through the Enhanced Mobility for Seniors and Disabled (EMSD) grant program to help meet the transportation needs of seniors and people with disabilities throughout Orange County.

The grants will go to eight nonprofit organizations and public agencies for 14 projects that will provide paratransit vans, buses, support equipment and other assistance to ensure that quality transportation options are available to Orange County seniors and people with disabilities.

The program supports the needs of the senior and disabled populations beyond traditional public transportation. The program may help alleviate demand for OC ACCESS, a shared-ride service OCTA provides for passengers unable to use the regular OC Bus system because of functional and cognitive limitations.

The grant funding will go toward capital expenses such as Americans with Disabilities Act accessible vehicles and related equipment purchases and leases and operating costs. Awarded applicants will also provide matching funds.

OCTA is responsible for coordinating and providing transportation services for seniors and disabled persons within Orange County. OCTA’s Board of Directors released the EMSD call for projects in July, then staff conducted outreach efforts to make local agencies aware of the eligible funding.

OCTA contacted potential applicants – more than 500 in all – such as city, county, and nonprofit agencies that currently participate in OC Go, Senior Mobility and Community Circulator programs and members of the Technical Advisory Committee.

The outreach campaign succeeded in recruiting applicants eager to participate in the EMSD program to secure transportation benefits for the communities they serve.

OCTA will conduct a workshop for those receiving grants to discuss next steps of the program, including reporting and oversight requirements. Following that, they will enter into cooperative agreements with OCTA to receive funding allowing the projects to move forward.

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