On August 31, Cedar County Transit and the Nebraska Department of Transportation Mobility Management team were notified their proposal for the Community Rides Grants program had been accepted and their request fully funded. Cedar County was one of 19 projects selected out of a national pool of 76 applications.
Cedar County Transit and NDOT Mobility Management submitted the proposal in May 2021 to use the funding to increase service within Cedar county and expand into Knox county. Both Cedar and Knox county boards have been interested in expanded service for some time, and the Community Rides Grants program provided the necessary funding to run the project for one year, proving its value to both areas.
The majority of the $97,800 of funding will go toward operational costs for expanded service, through some will be used in a marketing campaign to make residents aware of Cedar County Transit’s available services. This project aims to increase the availability of medical care for residents through partnerships with area medical clinics and hospitals. Increasing affordable transit availability in Cedar and Knox counties is another purpose of the project.
In September, the project team’s Technical Committee representing Cedar county, Knox county, partners from area hospitals and medical clinics, NDOT, and the Mobility Management team held its first meeting to assist with organization and reporting functions. The Technical Committee will focus on creating operating and marketing plans with service starting in early 2022. Project metrics include tracking Medicaid trips and trips originating in Cedar and Knox counties. Throughout 2022 the project team will compare 2021 data to 2022 data to evaluate the project’s success.
The expansion project is funded through December 2022, and the Technical Committee will work with area partners to secure funding past the original grant end date. The monitoring steps and final report the project team will complete aim to collect the necessary data to support further funding for transit expansion.