According to the United States Department of Transportation - Federal Transit Administration (FTA), an approved plan is necessary so organizations can apply for this this type of grant funding to support ongoing transportation efforts in primarily rural communities.

A new undertaking has begun to address public transportation-related needs for the Lake of the Ozarks area.

The Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments (LOCLG) and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) held the first of four public meetings last week to begin the process of updating LOCLG’s five-year Human Services Transportation Coordination Plan due to MODOT in February 2018.

The planning process, which involves three separate surveys, data collection and public sessions, is scheduled to take around 10-months and the new plan will replace the previously approved 2013 version. The plan is a key tool for local organizations that provide transportation services to the elderly, disabled and low-income populations, according to an LOCLG press release.

“The goal is to identify the needs and assessment of these areas, the gaps in needs, and identify funding, which does require a local match,” LOCGL’s Linda Conner said at the first public meeting at the Camden County Museum in Linn Creek. “All counties (Camden, Miller, Morgan and Laclede) qualify for federal funding based on a population of less than 50,000.”

According to the United States Department of Transportation - Federal Transit Administration (FTA), an approved plan is necessary so organizations can apply for this this type of grant funding to support ongoing transportation efforts in primarily rural communities.

“Federal transit law requires that projects selected for funding under the Enhanced Mobility for Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities (Section 5310) Program be ‘included in a locally developed, coordinated public-transit-human-services transportation plan,’ and that the plan be ‘developed and approved through a process that included participation by seniors, individuals with disabilities, representatives of public, private, and nonprofit transportation and human services providers and other members of the public’ utilizing transportation services.”

Organizations and businesses represented at the first meeting included OATS Transportation, Camden County Developmental Disabilities Resources, Camden County’s Senate Bill 40 Board, City of Camdenton and a few healthcare and medical services providers.

Conner said LOCLG offers grant writing services for organizations that seek federal funding, authorized in recent federal spending bills, under Section 5310 — Enhanced Mobility of Seniors & Individuals with Disabilities, and Section 5311 — Formula Grants for Rural Areas, sections of the U.S. Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

The federal share of eligible capital costs cannot exceed 80 percent, and 50 percent for operating assistance costs, according to the FTA. FTA also offers assistance for administration, planning and technical assistance.

The next three meetings will be held in Lebanon, Eldon and Laurie where LOCGL will continue to administer three types of surveys and seek feedback from stakeholders in the form of verbal and anonymous written responses. The three types of surveys being collected include one for transportation providers, non-transportation providers, and general consumers.

Special accommodations for the meeting can be made by contacting LOCGL at 573-346-5692 or for more information visit loclg.org.