SAN DIEGO–The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will conduct a series of public meetings in June and July to share the results of a recent survey about social services transportation needs in the region’s rural areas, and to discuss how providers can apply for grants to help meet those needs.
“Our survey results show that low-income, disabled, and elderly people are skipping trips to the doctor’s office, missing work, or forgoing church visits because they don’t have access to transportation,” SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos said. “However, grant funds are currently available for organizations interested in providing these types of transportation services in rural and urban areas.”
SANDAG conducted the survey earlier this year, asking mostly rural residents 19 questions about their transportation needs and concerns. Approximately 400 people responded.
Much of the survey focused on the number of trips people were forced to forego because no transportation was available to them. Results showed that 30 percent of persons with disabilities could not take trips they wanted to take in a given week. Approximately a quarter of limited-income rural residents (those at 150 percent of the federal poverty line) missed trips they wanted to take, and 10 percent of seniors could not find transportation.
Other results included: persons with disabilities and individuals with limited-incomes each miss 35 percent of their medical trips; 21 percent of work trips were missed by respondents with limited-incomes; religious trips were given up most frequently among seniors and persons with disabilities; 40 percent of disabled individuals said they regularly had to forego school-related trips.
SANDAG is still gathering data to complete the picture. Planners will hold a series of eight public meetings around the county in June and July to discuss the survey results and gather additional feedback. The information will be incorporated into the SANDAG Coordinated Plan, which identifies mobility needs in the county from a passenger perspective and focuses on transportation for seniors, persons with disabilities, reverse-commute trips, and employment-related transportation for persons with limited means.
SANDAG is currently revising the Coordinated Plan. The input of rural residents will help ensure that transportation projects sponsored by groups in rural San Diego County are eligible for federal, state, and local grant programs.
Simultaneously, SANDAG is soliciting requests for available grants from organizations interested in filling the identified needs. SANDAG expects to award many relatively small grants to numerous organizations.
The grants include $2.1 million from the TransNet Senior Mini Grant program, which are available to applicants in rural and urban areas. In addition, federal Jobs Access Reverse Commute and New Freedom grants are available for programs in the urban areas of the region, which includes some communities such as Ramona that are usually considered rural. In addition, the state of California has a pool of grant money to distribute statewide to fund similar programs.
The public meetings will provide opportunities for residents to learn about the survey and give feedback. They also will include sessions on the grants and how to apply. The meetings will be held on the following dates:
- July 1: 1 – 2:30 p.m. grants session; 3 – 4:30 p.m. public meeting. Ramona Senior Center, 434 Aqua Lane, Ramona
- July 6: 1 – 2:30 p.m. grants session; 3 – 4:30 p.m. public meeting. Rincon Tribal Hall, 1 West Tribal Road, Valley Center
- July 7: 3:30 – 5 p.m. grants session; 5:30 – 7 p.m. public Meeting. Mountain Empire Community Center, 976 Sheridan Road, Campo
- July 7: 3:30 – 5 p.m. grants session; 5:30 – 7 p.m. public meeting. Mountain Empire Community Center, 976 Sheridan Road, Campo
- July 8: 12 – 1:30 p.m. grants session; 2 – 3:30 p.m. public meeting. Borrego Senior Center, 580 Circle J Drive, Borrego Springs
- July 9: 1 – 2:30 p.m. grants session; 3 – 4:30 p.m. public meeting. Gallegos Room, Caltrans District 11 Offices, 4050 Taylor St., San Diego
The San Diego Association of Governments is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.