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Congressman Higgins & County Executive Poloncarz Announce $2.65 Million in Federal Funding for Vehicles & Mobility Programs

Sep 4, 2015
Press Release
Services will benefit seniors and individuals with disabilities

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced $2,652,265 in federal funding for transportation and enhanced mobility programs, including 47 vehicles, to benefit seniors and individuals with disabilities in Western New York. The federal funding will be supported by $1,751,952 in matching funds for a total investment of $4,404,217.

“A daily commute to work, reaching medical appointments, and staying active in the community can be a challenge without reliable means of transportation,” said Congressman Higgins. “These funds will go a long way towards ensuring all members of our community have access to transportation, a sense of independence, and a high quality of life.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “Many of us take the act of driving for granted and rarely think of what it would be like if we could not get ourselves to work, to our appointments, or to community events. For many seniors and individuals with disabilities, however, the ability to participate in these activities can be curtailed by a lack of transportation. Thanks to Congressman Higgins, many more people in Erie County will now have access to safe, reliable transportation to get them where they need to go.”

The funding will be distributed to public and not for profit organizations to be used towards additional vehicles, GPS equipment, bench and shelter improvements, program monitoring, program implementation, administrative services, and expansion of existing services.

The funding provided through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will add the projects to the 2014-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) schedule maintained by the New York State Department of Transportation, under the advisement of Western New York’s local Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Greater Buffalo Regional Transportation Council. 

“These transportation funds are essential to increasing the quality of life for seniors and people with disabilities,” said Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. President & CEO.  “Whether it’s a group of seniors at one of our independent apartment buildings hopping in a new van – thanks to Congressman Higgins - and going to Canalside or someone with a disability that wants to work at Harbor Center, they too can enjoy and participate in Buffalo’s Renaissance,” added Frederick.

“This funding is absolutely essential for us to provide reliable transportation for the young adults in our STEPS (Success Through Engagement and Positive Supports) Program, a highly-individualized, community-based program for adults with developmental disabilities,” said Stephen R. Anderson, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of The Summit Center. “The vans we purchase with these funds will allow these young adults to have greater opportunities to participate in community activities, explore a variety of volunteer opportunities, and visit work sites where they can develop vocational skills,” added Anderson.

Mindy Cervoni, President & CEO, Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled added, “These grants will give people with developmental disabilities access to transportation they do not currently have.  Some people we serve currently have no access to transportation and cannot control whether or not they get to a doctor’s appointment, go to their place of worship, their job or an interview.  They will now have this opportunity and we thank Congressman Higgins.”

“We are delighted that this funding will allow Heritage Centers to provide a great deal of assistance to individuals who just need a little help,” said Heritage Centers, Bill McHugh, President & CEO.

Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, “I want to thank Congressman Higgins and County Executive Mark Poloncarz for their combined support in seeking much needed additional funding for Metro to be able to continue its Paratransit service past March 31, 2016 for this section of our service area.  PAL transportation provides a vital connection to medical appointments, employment and family visits for those unable to use regular Metro bus service.”     

Said Timothy Pfol, Executive Director, Southeast Works, “This award will allow us to purchase 8 new buses for Southeast Works which was desperately needed due our aging vehicle fleet.”

“We’re pushing hard to open up more and more meaningful life experiences for the individuals we serve. With new vehicles, we’ll be able to offer more opportunities for individuals with disabilities to connect to their community through volunteer work, job training and job placement,” said, Jeff Paterson, Executive Director, Niagara Cerebral Palsy.

Kellie Spychalski, Executive Director of Opportunities Unlimited added, “Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara is dedicated to maximizing the quality of life for the people we support and we are focused on providing them with the resources to reach their dreams and goals. As a recipient of this grant, we are grateful to be able to offer increased transportation opportunities for our individuals to explore and participate in the community and ultimately determine their future.”

A breakdown of the funding is available below:

VEHICLE PROJECTS

Agency Name

County

Number of Vehicles

Federal Amount

Total Cost

Catholic Health System, Inc.

Erie

2

$83,530

$104,413

Co. of Erie dba Dept. of Senior Services

Erie

2

$62,703

$78,379

Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Inc.

Erie

5

$147,179

$183,973

Heritage Centers, Inc.

Erie

8

$246,514

$308,142

Lord of Life Adult & Child Services, Inc.

Erie

2

$62,703

$78,379

Niagara Co. Chapter, NYSARC Inc.

Niagara

4

$113,677

$142,097

People, Inc.

Erie

8

$231,778

$289,722

Southeast Works

Erie

8

$250,812

$313,515

The Summit Center

Erie

3

$95,065

$118,831

Town of Hamburg Dept. of Youth, Recreation, & Senior Services

Erie

3

$97,138

$121,423

United Cerebral Palsy Association of Niagara County Inc.

Niagara

2

$65,473

$81,842

Grand Total

47

$1,456,572

$1,820,715

 

MOBILITY MANAGEMENT PROJECTS

Agency Name

County

Project Proposal

Federal Amount

Local Amount

Total Cost

Co. of Erie dba Dept. of Senior Services

Erie

Call Center scheduling, coordination and dispatch activities for 16 agencies to promote efficiency of existing transportation services.

$167,874

$466,648

$634,522

People, Inc.

Erie

Implementation of a Peer 2 Peer Travel Training Program for individuals with disabilities.

$125,783

$31,447

$157,230

Grand Total

$293,657

$498,095

$791,752

 

OPERATING ASSISTANCE PROJECTS

Agency Name

County

Project Proposal

Federal Amount

Local Amount

Total Cost

Co. of Erie dba Dept. of Senior Services

Erie

Provide expanded access to transportation for seniors and individuals with disabilities thru the Department's Going Places Program.

$289,320

$289,320

$587,640

Heritage Centers, Inc.

Erie

Provide transportation services for low-income individuals with developmental disabilities to community employment locations and mobile work site opportunities. Funding will also assist with the purchase of two additional vehicles to provide rides to work locations not accessible by public transportation.

$89,269

$89,272

$178,541

Hearts & Hands Faith  in Action, Inc.

Erie & Niagara

Administrative costs to operate a volunteer driver program for service for elderly and disabled in suburban and rural communities in the region.

$250,000

$250,000

$500,000

NFTA

Erie & Niagara

Support the continuation of current levels of paratransit services in areas previously served by Route 57 in the Cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda and the Town of Wheatfield.

$146,783

$146,784

$293,567

Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Inc.

Erie

The Fill-in the Gap Transportation Program provides a Community Services’ Transportation Specialist who will provide screening for program eligibility and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of program services. Actual trips will be arranged through the Center for Transportation Excellence to assist program participants to reach their pre-approved, work-related sites and destinations.

$98,216

$98,225

$196,441

Grand Total

$873,588

$873,601

$1,756,190

 

 

 

NON-VEHICLE CAPITAL PROJECTS

Agency Name

County

Project Proposal

Federal Amount

Local Amount

Total Cost

ECMC Lifeline Foundation, Inc.

Erie

Installation of benches, shelters and passenger amenities above and beyond ADA requirements to improve transportation access for elderly and disabled patients served by ECMC.

$20,000

$5,000

$25,000

Heritage Centers, Inc.

Erie

Installation of GPS and vehicle tracking software for real-time location detection, engine diagnostics and fuel efficiency for fleet optimization.

$8,448

$2,112

$10,560

Grand Total

$28,448

$7,112

$35,560