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Vanpool Initiative to Generate More Federal Funds

Contributed by PRTC

prtcOn October 3, three regional agencies and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia officially launched Vanpool Alliance, a landmark program that will bring additional federal funding to a region extending from Arlington to Caroline County.

The Vanpool Alliance launch ceremony was highlighted by keynote remarks from Thelma Drake, director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT).

Vanpool operators who participate in the program will compile data about their vehicles, ridership, trip-making patterns, and other vanpool-related information for inclusion in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) National Transit Database, which the FTA uses to distribute federal funds.  The submission of this data will earn the region additional federal funding.

“Vanpool Alliance is a forward-thinking initiative that will capitalize on the popularity of vanpooling in our region.  Already one of the largest vanpool markets in the nation, this program promises to induce even greater vanpool usage and, by simply collecting data about those commutes and submitting it to the Federal Transit Administration, we will be able to bring more federal dollars to our area; federal dollars that can be used to make additional regional transportation investments,” Director Drake said.

Within three years, this innovative program is expected to generate sufficient federal funding to pay for itself and for more transportation improvements.

Vanpool Alliance is a unique regional public-private partnership between:

  • George Washington Regional Commission;
  • Northern Virginia Transportation Commission; and
  • Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, which will administer the program.

Most of the program’s start-up funding was provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia on the recommendation of DRPT.  Virginia provided a grant of more than $3 million to start the program because there is a minimum two year lag time between data submission and the awarding of federal funds.

Existing vanpools that meet specific criteria are now being recruited to participate in the program.  Vanpool data will begin to be collected in November 2013, and operators will receive a small stipend to compensate them for their time and effort collecting the data.

Vanpool Alliance will not only boost the number of vanpools in the area, but will also provide some of the first quantifiable statistics about the significance of vanpooling as a commuting option in our region.

To ensure full accessibility for the program, a new 2013 Ford Econoline 350 van featuring a lift that meets all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act is available for lease as necessary.

Visit VanpoolAlliance.org for more information.

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