Obama Admin. Spending $34 Million to ‘Bridge the Transportation Gap’ for Veterans

By Susan Jones | November 9, 2011 | 10:25 AM EST

Handicap accessible transportation. (Photo from DOT's Fast Lane website)

(CNSNews.com) - The Obama administration, which has been wooing veterans since President Barack Obama took office, now plans to spend $34.6 million to help veterans and their families find "reliable, affordable transportation to get to work and back home again."

The money will fund 55 "one-click, one-call" transportation resource centers across the country, making it possible for veterans to check bus and van schedules online or over the phone -- and to schedule rides with vanpools or private transportation companies, the Transportation Department said.

"We want to make sure that military veterans and their families can take full advantage of the transportation resources in their communities," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Wednesday in his Fast Lane blog.  "’One-click, one-call’ centers will better connect them with a range of reliable, affordable options to get to work, the supermarket, their kids' day care center, school, medical facilities, and other essential destinations.”

Many military families live in suburban and rural communities where long car commutes eat up the family’s gas budget and where public transportation options are limited, LaHood explained.

“The projects funded by this initiative will bridge the transportation gap by helping states and communities build or expand centers that offer information on local transportation options by phone or internet."

The initiative, LaHood added, "will connect America's veterans and their families to the opportunities they deserve."

LaHood was traveling to Florida on Wednesday to announce a $1.9 million grant intended to help the Jacksonville Transportation Authority create a "one-call, one-click" center. It's one of six grants totaling $7.3 million in Florida, which has a relatively large population of veterans and active-duty military.

LaHood said closing the veterans’ “transportation gap” will become increasingly vital as the president’s “Veterans Employment Initiative takes off – and “more jobs will be available to our military heroes.”