The Community Transit Grant Program (CTGP) is designed to award funds to help meet the transportation and mobility needs of seniors and people with disabilities. This annual competitive program acts to distribute Federal Transit Administration Section 5310: Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities funds and State Mobility Assistance Program (MAP) funds to purchase lift accessible vans for municipalities in need. As of this year (fiscal year 2019), Massachusetts has over $5 million available in federal Section 5310 funds as well as an additional $4 million in state MAP funds to be used for the purchase of handicap-accessible vehicles.
Uses under the CTGP include the purchase of accessible vehicles, provision of services outside the typical Regional Transit Authority area and improvements to mobility services provided to seniors and people with disabilities. There are a variety of organizations eligible to receive these funds including non-profit organizations, local government agencies, regional transit authorities, and even some private taxi companies. Once vehicles have been purchased for use within CTGP, detailed training sessions are provided to recipients both online and in person. These trainings aid grant awardees to not only operate and maintain vehicles within federal regulations but ensure compliance with regulations regarding reporting and invoicing of costs. Finally, MassDOT personally receives and inspects all awarded vehicles.
Each vehicle distributed in this program creates the opportunity for accessibility for individuals to engage and remain part of the community while eliminating barriers such as high vehicle costs and technical expertise. Such impacts are especially powerful in rural communities where public transit is less common and seniors or people with disabilities are dispersed over a large area. Vehicles may also be used for various local needs such as transportation of commuters during rush hour periods or school children to and from school.