April 27th, 2012

CHANGING LIVES

Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

Public transit is more about people than buses.

Todd Beutler, Cache Valley Transit District General Manager had a “changing moment” that prompted him to consider a career in public transit. As a student, he worked as a bus driver and became acquainted with an elderly man who rode the bus every day. One day, Beutler had a conversation with the man and became acutely aware of how important bus service was to his independence and quality of life.

Eight agencies in Utah provide public transit and para-transit public transportation in service areas across the state. However, some parts of the state are not covered by those service areas. The Federal Transit Administration, part of the US Department of Transportation, sponsors 21 grant programs, 6 of which are specific to special rural areas and low income, elderly and disabled citizens. In Utah, those programs are administered by the UDOT Public Transit Team staff that assist qualifying local communities to apply for and obtain funding to meet operational and capital needs.

According to the PTT Annual Report, the program allocated more than $4,733,886 in FTA grant funds to public and private agencies and organizations across the state. Many of the funds help support existing services by purchasing additional buses or equipment, such as GPS systems, that help communities expand public transit routes. The funding helps support “improved access and quality of service in urban and rural areas statewide.”

Thousands of citizens in Utah have benefited from improved public transit services. A new video details how the work of the UDOT PTT is really about people. In addition, local economies have benefited when people can connect to services, education and employment.

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