ACTR awarded $100,000 Jane's Trust grant
Addison County Transit Resources (ACTR) was recently awarded a $100,000 grant by Jane’s Trust of Boston, Massachusetts. These funds contribute towards the 20% local match requirements of a $2.85 million Federal Grant previously awarded to ACTR for the construction of the Community Transportation Center.
“We are honored to receive this gift recognizing our contribution to the economic, social and environmental health of the Addison County region,” said Jim Moulton, Executive Director of ACTR. “We have now raised nearly 97% of the funds needed to create this center, which will enable us to continue meeting the growing community transportation needs in the region.”
The county’s “transit-dependent” population, i.e., those who are most likely to be unable to transport themselves due to economic, physical or cognitive barriers, is growing more quickly than ACTR’s current resources can accommodate. Demographically, in 2000, 15% of the county’s population was age 60 or older. In 2010, that number had risen to 20% and, by 2020, it is projected to rise to 27%. As people age, they often become less able to drive and tend to need more medical services. They also often live on limited incomes, with fewer dollars available for owning and maintaining personal vehicles.
Economic trends are also increasing the demand for more comprehensive community transportation services. In 2010, 11.7% of Vermonters lived in poverty in 2010, up from 9.4% in the 2000 Census. Meanwhile, fuel prices remain near $4.00 per gallon and the average annual cost of owning and operating a car in Vermont has risen to nearly $8,000, placing greater pressure on household budgets. ACTR cannot meet these growing demands, however, without transforming the infrastructure from which it operates.
In the past decade, ACTR has built a strong foundation that demonstrates its readiness for substantial growth to meet community needs in the coming years. Specifically, ACTR has increased overall ridership at a compounded annual growth rate of 10% since 2002; met or exceeded the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) performance benchmarks for productivity and cost-efficiency for eight consecutive years; and received national recognition from 1) Reconnecting America in 2012 as one of nine transit systems cited for economic development impact in small town and rural America, and 2) the Transit Cooperative Research Program in 2011 as one of five leaders cited for innovation for rural transportation systems.
In that time, ACTR has earned the 2008 FTA Region I Ridership Award for rural systems in recognition of its exemplary services and growth; won seven competitive state grants worth $430,000 a year for new/expanded services; secured selection in 2009 as the first transit agency in Vermont for inclusion in the Google Transit system (how to get from here to there via public transportation); and, ranked first in United Way evaluations in 2010 and 2011 for our grant applications earning critical local match funds to draw down operating grants.
ACTR has also garnered high praise from riders. In its 2011 customer service surveys 96% of Dial-a-Ride users had a positive or very positive experience; 96% of Shuttle Bus riders say they feel safe; 95% indicate the ACTR staff is courteous and helpful; and 90% report the buses are punctual.
“This support comes at an important time," said Dean George, President of the ACTR Board of Directors. “We are nearing the end of our fundraising goal at the same time we are getting ready to go out to bid for construction of the center.”
ACTR plans to be operating out of the new Community Transportation Center by March 2013, shortly after reaching its 20th anniversary of service to the community. To learn more about ACTR’s services, and/or contribute to the capital campaign for the Community Transportation Center, go to www.actr-vt.org