As I’ve said before, when we increase access to transit, we increase access to opportunity. So improving transportation choices available to all Americans is a priority for this Administration. At DOT, we are particularly proud of the transit services we're developing for our nation's military heroes, veterans, wounded warriors, and their families.
On Wednesday, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff joined U.S. Navy and local officials in Kittery, Maine to announce that DOT is providing more than $3.5 million to improve transportation for veterans, military families, civilian defense workers, and other residents of the greater Seacoast region of Maine and New Hampshire.
The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) will receive $2.6 million to improve the frequency of regional bus service during peak commuting periods, and $640,000 will be used to help expand the important Clipper Connection commuter bus service, which serves the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
This increase in commuter bus services will make it easier for civilian and military personnel to get to critical jobs at the Naval Shipyard and at Pease International Tradeport, two of the area’s largest employment centers.
And, as Administrator Rogoff noted, by providing these workers good transportation choices, we're providing their families the chance to save thousands of dollars each year for other things --putting food on the table, paying for their kids' college, saving for the future.
“I am so happy with the bus service, and so are all the other folks who ride on the Clipper Connection. It is a great commuter advantage for all: the riders don’t have to drive their own vehicles; it lessens the traffic daily on the roadways and highways by reducing amounts of vehicles going on and coming off the shipyard daily; and it cuts down on the emissions released into atmosphere. It's really a win-win for all.”
But we're not stopping there. In southern Maine and New Hampshire alone, more than 48,000 veterans are living, working, attending school, and obtaining the medical care they need.
That’s why DOT is also making available a $324,000 grant to COAST through our Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative (VTCLI).
This innovative program, now in its second year, encourages communities and local transportation providers to work together using technology that connects veterans, military families, and people from all walks of life with the transportation services they greatly need to get to work, to school, to medical care, and elsewhere.
We owe our veterans, wounded warriors, and their families an enormous debt of gratitude for their service. And when First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden challenged Americans to do all we can to support those who have served us, the FTA was happy to respond with the VTCLI. As Administrator Rogoff said:
"During the Obama Administration, the FTA has had the opportunity to work with partners we never thought possible or necessary. We're building bridges with the Navy, the Department of Defense's Wounded Warriors office, and the Veterans' Administration to help our heroes."
Ensuring that those who have served and continue to serve have access to quality, convenient transportation is just one small way we can express our gratitude.
And this Administration will continue working tirelessly to invest in the infrastructure and transportation systems that create jobs and opportunities for all who want them.