Funding To Improve Access to Jobs, Transit Options in Greater Seacoast Area
Contact: Angela Gates
KITTERY, Maine — Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff today joined U.S. Navy and local officials to announce the expansion of express commuter bus service that will improve transit options and make it easier for civilian and military personnel to get to work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Pease International Tradeport, two of the area’s largest employment centers. The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing more than $3.5 million for transportation improvements in the greater-Seacoast area, including a $324,000 grant made available today to the Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) to improve access to transportation services for veterans and military families.
“Today’s announcement will help ensure that the people of Maine and New Hampshire who proudly serve in our armed forces have better access to quality, convenient transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is just one way to thank them for their service and to support President Obama’s goal of helping provide our servicemen and women with access to the jobs and resources they need when they come home.”
Federally-funded transportation improvements in the greater-Seacoast area include COAST’s new Clipper Connection commuter bus service, as well as increased frequency of service on regional bus routes and the development of a one-click, one-call information center that veterans, military families and others will be able to use to find information online and by phone about transportation services in the area.
“America’s war heroes and those who work so hard to support them deserve transit options that will provide reliable access to a steady paycheck and allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets,” said FTA Administrator Rogoff. “These long-term investments in the Seacoast area will reduce congestion during shift changes at the shipyard and make it easier for people who live in Portsmouth, Kittery and the surrounding areas to get to work and home each day.”
Administrator Rogoff was joined by COAST Executive Director Rad Nichols, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Deputy Public Works Officer John Wyeth, Kittery Town Manager Robert Markel and Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Robert Lister.
The Department of Transportation is providing $2.6 million to COAST to increase the frequency of regional bus routes to every 30 minutes during peak commuting periods, with matching funds provided by the New Hampshire Turnpike Authority, as part of the Little Bay Bridge rehabilitation project between Dover and Newington, New Hampshire. In addition, the department is providing $640,000 for the newly expanded Clipper Connection commuter bus service, with matching funds provided by the Navy.
The $324,000 grant was announced on Veterans Day in November 2011, and the funding is being made available today through the Federal Transit Administration’s Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative (VTCLI) program to help veterans, military families and others connect to jobs and services through improved access to local transportation options. COAST has met all of the grant obligations and is ready to begin implementation of the project. The COAST project is one of 86 projects over two years that were selected to receive funding as part of this grant program. More information about the program can be found at http://www.fta.dot.gov/veterans.